The Impact of Melatonin, Zaleplon, Zopiclone, and Temazepam on Psychomotor Performance


  1. Gray, G.
  2. Kenny, G.
  3. Pigeau, R.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Modern military operations may require pharmaceutical methods to sustain alertness and facilitate sleep in order to maintain operational readiness. Some sleeping aids recently used in support of military operations include zopiclone, temazepam and melatonin. There is considerable interest in using a new drug (zaleplon) with a 1-hr half-life in support of military operations. This study was designed to compare the effect of ingestion of a single dose of zaleplon, zopiclone, temazepam and melatonin on psychomotor performance and to quantify the post-ingestion time required for return to normal performance. Twenty-three subjects (9 males, 14 females) aged 21-53 were assessed for psychomotor performance on two test batteries (4 tasks) that included a sleepiness questionnaire. Psychomotor testing was conducted prior to, and for 7 hours after ingestion of a single dose of each of placebo, zaleplon 10 mg, zopiclone 7.5 mg, temazepam 15 mg, and time-released melatonin 6 mg. The experimental design was a double blind cross over with counter-balanced treatment order. Results. Zaleplon, zopiclone, and temazepam impaired performance on all 4 tasks (serial reaction time (SRT), logical reasoning (LRT), serial subtraction (SST) and Multitask (MT). Melatonin did not impair performance on any task. The time to recovery of normal performance for SRT during the zaleplon, zopiclone and temazepam conditions were 3¼, 6¼, and 5¼ hours respectively; for LRT were 3¼, >6¼, and 4¼ hours; for S

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Chronobiology;Fatigue countermeasures;Psychomotor performance
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2003-071 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Dec 2003
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Vol 74, no 12, 2003, p 1263-1270
Electronic Document(PDF);CD ROM

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