Comparative effects of zopiclone and loprazolam on psychomotor and physical performance in active individuals

Clin J Sport Med. 2000 Apr;10(2):123-8. doi: 10.1097/00042752-200004000-00007.


Objective: Sedative hypnotics are used by athletes to alleviate precompetition anxiety and insomnia. The effects of these agents on exercise tolerance have not been extensively researched.

Design: To determine the effects of sedative hypnotics on psychomotor and physical performance, a double-blind, placebo- (P) controlled, cross-over designed trial investigated the effects of zopiclone (Z) and loprazolam (L) on performance in 12 athletes.

Intervention: Subjects ingested either P, Z (7.5 mg), or L (2 mg) on three different occasions separated by a 1-week washout period. Eye-hand coordination tests, a 30-m sprint test, an agility test, and a graded treadmill run to exhaustion for determination of VO2max were performed 10 hours after drug administration.

Results: Subjects reported a significantly greater hangover effect following ingestion of L (8/11 subjects) compared with ingestion of Z (3/11 subjects; p < 0.01). A greater number of subjects felt alert after ingestion of P (9/11 subjects) and Z (9/11 subjects) compared with L (4/11 subjects; p < 0.01). The results of the eye-hand coordination tests, the 30-m sprint, the T-test, the VO2max, and the time to exhaustion during the treadmill run were not significantly altered following the ingestion of P, Z, and L. There was a significant difference between the delta values for Z and L for the number of missed responses in the eye-hand coordination tests (p < 0.02). Therefore, following the ingestion of L, subjects experienced a significant hangover effect and altered reaction time, whereas the ingestion of Z did not significantly impair either psychomotor or physical performance in the administered tests.

Clinical relevance: Investigate the extent of the effects of sedative hypnotics on exercise performances, enabling team physicians to prescribe such drugs to the athlete more effectively.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Benzodiazepines*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Placebos
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Sports*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Piperazines
  • Placebos
  • zopiclone
  • Benzodiazepines
  • triazulenone