In a new systematic review in JAMA Neurology, Michigan Medicine researchers found reason to further explore the surprising effects of zolpidem that have been observed outside the scope of its primary Food and Drug Administration approval.
"We saw a dramatic effect in a small amount of patients with a variety of conditions," says Martin "Nick" Bomalaski, M.D., an outgoing resident physician in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
Most of the patients who responded to zolpidem for noninsomnia neurological disorders had either a disorder of consciousness or a movement disorder, Bomalaski reports.
That includes those in comas and vegetative states, and others with Parkinson's disease and dystonia.
The response rate in the reviewed articles was between 5 and 7 percent for patients with disorders of consciousness, and up to 24 percent or even higher for patients with movement disorders.
Another topic for more research is to assess whether the effects of zolpidem depend on the part of the brain that's injured.