Zolpidem is differentiated from triazolam in humans using a three-response drug discrimination procedure

M. Z. Mintzer, J. M. Frey, R. R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The discriminative stimulus effects of the imidazopyridine hypnotic zolpidem and the classic benzodiazepine hypnotic triazolam were examined in seven healthy volunteers using a three-response drug discrimination procedure and a within-subject design. During an initial sampling phase, the training drug conditions (placebo, 20 mg/70 kg zolpidem, and 0.5 mg/70 kg triazolam) were identified to subjects by letter codes before oral drug administration. During a subsequent training phase, subjects earned money for correct drug identifications made 3.75 h after drug administration. Five out of seven subjects acquired the three-response discrimination. Analyses of standardized and unstructured self-report questionnaires revealed that zolpidem and triazolam produced different profiles of effects; zolpidem was associated with a number of negative somatic symptoms including nausea, blurred vision, visual images/hallucinations, and heavy limbs, whereas triazolam was associated with greater sedative effects. These results demonstrate a distinct profile of discriminative stimulus and subjective effects for zolpidem, relative to triazolam, which is consistent with its somewhat distinct pharmacological profile, and provide evidence for the sensitivity of the three-response drug discrimination procedure for detecting between-drug differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-559
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1998


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Discrimination
  • Human
  • Triazolam
  • Zolpidem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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