Zolpidem-induced sleepwalking, sleep related eating disorder, and sleep-driving: fluorine-18-flourodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography analysis, and a literature review of other unexpected clinical effects of zolpidem

J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 Oct 15;5(5):471-6.


Zolpidem is a hypnotic which acts at the GABAA receptor and is indicated for short-term insomnia. Sleep related disorders including somnambulism, sleep related eating and sleep-driving have been reported with zolpidem. A 51-year-old insomniac who used zolpidem 10 mg nightly starting at 44 years of age is described. A few weeks after starting zolpidem she began walking, eating, and had one episode of driving while asleep. Episodes of sleep related eating, sleepwalking, and sleeptalking occurred 3 nights per week, 1 to 2 h after sleep onset. After her evaluation, the patient's zolpidem was gradually discontinued, and all sleep related activities immediately ceased. An 18F-FDG-PET was obtained 2 months after discontinuation of zolpidem. The following day, FDG was administered 1 h after oral administration of 10 mg zolpidem, and then a second PET was performed. We report the results and a review of the literature regarding other unintended effects seen with zolpidem use.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Pyridines / adverse effects*
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Radiography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy
  • Somnambulism / chemically induced*
  • Zolpidem


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pyridines
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Zolpidem