One rare side effect of zolpidem--sleepwalking: a case report

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Jun;86(6):1265-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.11.022.


Zolpidem is an imidazopyridine agent indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Sleepwalking is a rare side effect of zolpidem. A review of the literature produced only 2 cases. We report a case of a male rehabilitation inpatient in his mid fifties with a history of alcoholism and traumatic brain injury who had undergone a right hip hemiarthroplasty. He had no history of somnambulism or insomnia but walked in his sleep on 2 nonconsecutive nights after taking zolpidem. He had exhibited no such behavior before taking zolpidem, on the intervening night that was he was not given medication, and after the medication was discontinued. We conclude that zolpidem can cause sleepwalking, and patients who have suffered a brain injury may be more susceptible to this side effect. Here we describe the clinical presentation and review the relevant literature on zolpidem and sleepwalking.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage
  • Pyridines / adverse effects*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy
  • Somnambulism / chemically induced*
  • Zolpidem


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pyridines
  • Zolpidem