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Volume 14 No. 07
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Accepted Papers

Case Reports

Severe Chronic Abuse of Zolpidem in Refractory Insomnia

Giacomo Chiaro, MD1; Anna Castelnovo, MD1; Giovanni Bianco, MD1; Piermario Maffei, MD2; Mauro Manconi, MD, PhD1
1Sleep and Epilepsy Center, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Civic Hospital of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland; 2Community Psychiatry Service OSC-EOC, Lugano, Switzerland

Zolpidem is an imidazopyridine nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic drug with a high affinity to the α1 subunit of the gamma amino butyric acid A receptor It is the first pharmacological option in the short-term management of sleep-onset insomnia. Initially considered a safer drug compared to benzodiazepines because of lower liability for abuse and dependence, recently, an increasing body of reports has questioned zolpidem's proneness to misuse. In this report, we describe a case of serious zolpidem abuse requiring pharmacological washout during hospitalization because of previous withdrawal seizures in a patient with chronic sleep-onset and maintenance insomnia.


Chiaro G, Castelnovo A, Bianco G, Maffei P, Manconi M. Severe chronic abuse of zolpidem in refractory insomnia. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(7):1257–1259.

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