This could be important background knowledge in the discussion about establishing legal limits in traffic for sedatives or sleep-inducing medicines as we have for alcohol, says Ingebjørg Gustavsen from the Division for Forensic Toxicology and Drug Research.
Common sleeping medicines
Hypnotics that contain zopiclone and zolpidem (e.g. Imovane® and Stilnoct®) are widely used throughout the world and it is reported that between 3 and 7 % of the adult population uses these drugs. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have now studied if there is a link between the concentration of zopiclone or zolpidem in the blood and being assessed as impaired during a clinical examination. The study was done on anonymised material by comparing blood samples and results from clinical tests for the period January 2000 to December 2007. The same study was performed on another group of drivers who only had alcohol in the blood.
Link between substance concentration and impairment
The proportion of drivers who were evaluated as impaired increased with zopiclone-concentration in the blood. A similar positive link was not found for zolpidem. For alcohol, as expected, there was a significant link between the proportion of impaired drivers and alcohol concentration in the blood.
We know that the clinical examination performed on suspicion of driving under the influence is a test that is most sensitive for alcohol impairment, and less sensitive for other substances. Other types of impairment are therefore not necessarily picked up with this study, which can explain why we have not found positive links for zolpidem. Another reason can be that there were few drivers in our sample, particularly in the groups with low concentrations, says Gustavsen.
The proportion of drivers who were evaluated as impaired was relatively similar for the group that had 130 μg/l zopiclone or more in the blood and the group that had a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.1 %. A concentration of 130 μg/l zopiclone in the blood suggests intake of at least 2 large doses of zopiclone.
Zopiclone and zolpidem are usually used in moderate amounts before bedtime, and will often be excreted from the body by the next morning. There are few users of these hypnotics that are stopped by police based on suspicion of driving under the influence. In the meantime we know that these substances also have abuse potential, as do other sedative or sleep-inducing medicines. Over 90 % of the drivers included in the study because of zopiclone- / zolpidem-use had higher concentrations of the substances in the blood than one would expect from normal therapeutic use of sleeping tablets before bedtime, concludes Gustavsen.Reference:
Julie Johansen | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research