Medicine & USMLE

Zolpidem Zaleplon Eszopiclone

Other Neuro Pharm
  1. Ramelteon
  2. Triptans
  3. Benzodiazepines - Function
  4. Zolpidem Zaleplon Eszopiclone
  5. Suvorexant
  6. Bromocriptine (Ergot Dopamine Agonists)
  7. Pramipexole, Ropinirole
  8. Amantadine
  9. Levodopa, Carbidopa
  10. Entacapone, Tolcapone
  11. Selegiline and Rasagiline
  12. Benztropine, Trihexyphenidyl
  13. Tetrabenazine
  14. Baclofen
  15. Memantine
  16. Riluzole
  17. Full Opioid Agonists
  18. Partial Opioid Agonists
  19. Dextromethorphan
  20. Tramadol
  21. Naloxone
  22. Naltrexone


Zolpidem, Zaleplon, and Eszopiclone are non-benzodiazepine hypnotics informally called the Z-drugs, which are used to treat insomnia. These drugs work by binding to and potentiating BZ1 receptors, a type of GABA receptor. The resulting GABA signalling induces sleep. Compared to traditional benzo drugs, these Z-drugs have a lower risk of dependence and less residual daytime effects.

Key Points

  • BZ1-GABA Hypnotics
    • Also known as the non-benzodiazepine hypnotics
    • Drug Names
      • Zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopiclone
    • Mechanism
      • Act via BZ1 subtype of the GABA receptor to increase frequency of chloride channel opening
        • Same binding site as benzodiazepines; effects also reversed by flumazenil
        • But chemically unrelated to benzos (hence, non-benzodiazepine)
    • Clinical Use
      • Insomnia
        • Sleep cycle less affected compared to benzodiazepine hypnotics
        • Short duration of action due to rapid metabolism by liver
        • Unlike older sedative-hypnotics, BZ1 hypnotics cause only modest day-after psychomotor depression and few amnestic effects
    • Adverse Effects
      • Lower dependence risk than benzodiazepines
      • May cause ataxia, headaches, confusion