Research Article

Increased sensitivity to nitrazepam in old age.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 01 January 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:10
  1. C M Castleden,
  2. C F George,
  3. D Marcer,
  4. C Hallett


    The effects of a single 10 mg oral dose of nitrazepam were compared with those of a placebo in healthy young and old people. Both the young and the elderly slept better on three successive nights after nitrazepam but they felt less awake at 12 and 36 hours (P less than 0-01). Elderly people made significantly more mistakes in a psychomotor test than did the young, despite similar plasma concentrations of nitrazepam and half lives in the two groups. This difference in response to psychomotor testing is probably explained by an increased sensitivity of the ageing brain to the action of nitrazepam.