Selective effects of zolpidem on human memory functions

Miriam Z. Mintzer, Roland R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Zolpidem is an imidazopyridine hypnotic with preferential binding affinity for the ω1-benzodiazepine (BZD) receptor. The present double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of orally administered zolpidem (15 mg/70 kg) on specific memory functions in 16 healthy volunteers using a battery of word and picture memory tasks. Relative to placebo, zolpidem significantly impaired memory for material presented after drug administration when memory was assessed directly by referring subjects back to the prior study episode (explicit memory: recall and recognition) but not when memory was assessed indirectly by evaluating subjects' ability to identify degraded versions of studied stimuli (implicit memory: fragment completion). Zolpidem did not impair explicit memory for material presented before drug administration or memory for previously acquired knowledge (semantic memory: categorization). There was evidence suggesting that zolpidem enhanced explicit and implicit memory for material presented before drug administration and that zolpidem produced a specific deficit in the acquisition of contextual information about material presented after drug administration. Despite zolpidem's unique pharmacological profile, the observed selectivity of zolpidem's memory-impairing effects for particular functions appears qualitatively similar to the selectivity observed with classic BZDs in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Human
  • Memory
  • Zolpidem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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