Research Article

Improved hypnotic treatment using chlormethiazole and temazepam.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 01 March 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:601
  1. R S Briggs,
  2. C M Castleden,
  3. C A Kraft


    The effects of a single 384 mg oral dose of chlormethiazole were compared with those of 20 mg of temazepam and placebo in healthy old and young women (mean ages 72.9 and 24.7 years respectively). Both drugs were effective hypnotics and had no detectable pharmacological action the next morning. Even four hours after administration performance of a simple psychomotor test was not impaired and sway (measured by an ataxiameter) was not increased in either age group. Pharmacokinetic studies showed that chlormethiazole was rapidly absorbed, distributed, and eliminated by both groups, so that minimal plasma concentrations existed 11 hours after administration. Temazepam, however, was less quickly absorbed and distributed, especially in the young group, and substantial amounts remained in the plasma 11 hours after administration. No unwanted effects occurred after temazepam, but 17 of the 20 subjects suffered from nasal irritation after taking chlormethiazole. Thus hangover effects may be avoided in elderly subjects after they have taken hypnotic drugs, and temazepam and chlormethiazole allow sleep to be interrupted safely.