Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Large Users Of Sleeping Medicine, Zopiclone, Assessed As Impaired Drivers

Date:
March 26, 2009
Source:
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Summary:
A new study shows a positive link between the amount of the hypnotic (sleeping medicine) zopiclone in the blood and the chance of being assessed as impaired in a clinical examination. The study also included drivers who only showed alcohol in their blood test.

A new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health shows a positive link between the amount of the hypnotic (sleeping medicine) zopiclone in the blood and the chance of being assessed as impaired in a clinical examination. The study also included drivers who only showed alcohol in their blood test.

"This could be important background knowledge in the discussion about establishing legal limits in traffic for sedatives or sleep-inducing medicines as we have for alcohol," says Ingebjørg Gustavsen from the Division for Forensic Toxicology and Drug Research.

Common sleeping medicines

Hypnotics that contain zopiclone and zolpidem (e.g. Imovane® and Stilnoct®) are widely used throughout the world and it is reported that between 3 and 7 % of the adult population uses these drugs. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have now studied if there is a link between the concentration of zopiclone or zolpidem in the blood and being assessed as impaired during a clinical examination. The study was done on anonymised material by comparing blood samples and results from clinical tests for the period January 2000 to December 2007. The same study was performed on another group of drivers who only had alcohol in the blood.

Link between substance concentration and impairment

The proportion of drivers who were evaluated as impaired increased with zopiclone-concentration in the blood. A similar positive link was not found for zolpidem. For alcohol, as expected, there was a significant link between the proportion of impaired drivers and alcohol concentration in the blood.

"We know that the clinical examination performed on suspicion of driving under the influence is a test that is most sensitive for alcohol impairment, and less sensitive for other substances. Other types of impairment are therefore not necessarily picked up with this study, which can explain why we have not found positive links for zolpidem. Another reason can be that there were few drivers in our sample, particularly in the groups with low concentrations," says Gustavsen.

The proportion of drivers who were evaluated as impaired was relatively similar for the group that had 130 μg/l zopiclone or more in the blood and the group that had a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.1 %. A concentration of 130 μg/l zopiclone in the blood suggests intake of at least 2 large doses of zopiclone.

Abuse potential

"Zopiclone and zolpidem are usually used in moderate amounts before bedtime, and will often be excreted from the body by the next morning. There are few users of these hypnotics that are stopped by police based on suspicion of driving under the influence. In the meantime we know that these substances also have abuse potential, as do other sedative or sleep-inducing medicines. Over 90 % of the drivers included in the study because of zopiclone- / zolpidem-use had higher concentrations of the substances in the blood than one would expect from normal therapeutic use of sleeping tablets before bedtime," concludes Gustavsen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gustavsen et al. Impairment related to blood drug concentrations of zopiclone and zolpidem compared to alcohol in apprehended drivers. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.01.011

Cite This Page:

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Large Users Of Sleeping Medicine, Zopiclone, Assessed As Impaired Drivers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092358.htm>.
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. (2009, March 26). Large Users Of Sleeping Medicine, Zopiclone, Assessed As Impaired Drivers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092358.htm
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Large Users Of Sleeping Medicine, Zopiclone, Assessed As Impaired Drivers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326092358.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) — Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins