Zolpidem's use for insomnia

Asian J Psychiatr. 2017 Feb;25:79-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2016.10.006. Epub 2016 Oct 12.


Zolpidem is a short-acting non-benzodiazepine hypnotic drug that belongs to the imidazopyridine class. In addition to immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (ER) formulations, the new delivery forms including two sublingual tablets [standard dose (SD) and low dose (LD)], and an oral spray form have been recently developed which bypass the gastrointestinal tract. So far, Zolpidem has been studied in several clinical populations: cases poor sleepers, transient insomnia, elderly and non-elderly patients with chronic primary insomnia, and in comorbid insomnia. Peak plasma concentration (Tmax) of zolpidem-IR occurs in 45 to 60min, with the terminal elimination half-life (t½) equating to 2.4h. The extended-release formulation results in a higher concentration over a period of more than 6h. Peak plasma concentration is somewhat shorter for the sublingual forms and the oral spray, while their t½ is comparable to that of zolpidem-IR. Zolpidem-IR reduces sleep latency (SL) at recommended doses of 5mg and 10mg in elderly and non-elderly patients, respectively. Zolpidem-ER at doses of 6.25mg and 12.5mg, improves sleep maintenance in elderly and non-elderly patients, respectively, 4h after its administration. Sublingual zolpidem-LD (5mg) and zolpidem oral spray are indicated for middle-of-the-night (MOTN) wakefulness and difficulty returning to sleep, while sublingual zolpidem-SD (10mg) is marketed for difficulty falling asleep. With their array of therapeutic uses and their popularity among physicians and patients; this review describes the clinical pharmacology, indications and uses, identifying withdrawal symptoms, abuse and dependence potentials, and adverse drug reactions are discussed.

Keywords: Hypnotic drugs; Insomnia disorder; Non-rapid eye movement sleep; Rapid eye movement sleep; Sleep; Zolpidem.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacokinetics
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology*
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage
  • Pyridines / adverse effects
  • Pyridines / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Zolpidem


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pyridines
  • Zolpidem