Zolpidem is a GABA A receptor positive modulator presumed to exert its therapeutic effects in the short-term treatment of insomnia through binding to the benzodiazepine site of α1 subunit containing GABA A receptors, increasing the frequency of chloride channel opening resulting in the inhibition of neuronal excitation.
Zolpidem binds to GABA A receptors with greater affinity for α1 subunit relative to α2 and α3 subunit containing receptors. Zolpidem has no appreciable binding affinity for α5 subunit containing GABA A receptors. This binding profile may explain the relative absence of myorelaxant effects in animal studies. Zolpidem has no appreciable binding affinity for dopaminergic D2, serotonergic 5HT 2 , adrenergic, histaminergic or muscarinic receptors.
AMBIEN CR exhibits biphasic absorption characteristics, which results in rapid initial absorption from the gastrointestinal tract similar to zolpidem tartrate immediate-release, then provides extended plasma concentrations beyond three hours after administration. A study in 24 healthy male subjects was conducted to compare mean zolpidem plasma concentration-time profiles obtained after single oral administration of AMBIEN CR 12.5 mg and of an immediate-release formulation of zolpidem tartrate (10 mg). The terminal elimination half-life observed with AMBIEN CR (12.5 mg) was similar to that obtained with immediate-release zolpidem tartrate (10 mg). The mean plasma concentration-time profiles are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Mean Plasma Concentration-Time Profiles for AMBIEN CR (12.5 mg) and Immediate-Release Zolpidem Tartrate (10 mg)
In adult and elderly patients treated with AMBIEN CR, there was no evidence of accumulation after repeated once-daily dosing for up to two weeks.
Following administration of AMBIEN CR, administered as a single 12.5 mg dose in healthy male adult subjects, the mean peak concentration (C max ) of zolpidem was 134 ng/mL (range: 68.9 to 197 ng/ml) occurring at a median time (T max ) of 1.5 hours. The mean AUC of zolpidem was 740 ng∙hr/mL (range: 295 to 1359 ng∙hr/mL).
A food-effect study in 45 healthy subjects compared the pharmacokinetics of AMBIEN CR 12.5 mg when administered while fasting or within 30 minutes after a meal. Results demonstrated that with food, mean AUC and C max were decreased by 23% and 30%, respectively, while median T max was increased from 2 hours to 4 hours. The half-life was not changed. These results suggest that, for faster sleep onset, AMBIEN CR should not be administered with or immediately after a meal.
Total protein binding was found to be 92.5 ± 0.1% and remained constant, independent of concentration between 40 and 790 ng/mL.
Zolpidem is converted to inactive metabolites that are eliminated primarily by renal excretion.
When AMBIEN CR was administered as a single 12.5 mg dose in healthy male adult subjects, the mean zolpidem elimination half-life was 2.8 hours (range: 1.62 to 4.05 hr).
In 24 elderly (≥65 years) healthy subjects administered a single 6.25 mg dose of AMBIEN CR, the mean peak concentration (C max ) of zolpidem was 70.6 (range: 35.0 to 161) ng/mL occurring at a median time (T max ) of 2.0 hours. The mean AUC of zolpidem was 413 ng∙hr/mL (range: 124 to 1190 ng∙hr/mL) and the mean elimination half-life was 2.9 hours (range: 1.59 to 5.50 hours).
AMBIEN CR was not studied in patients with hepatic impairment. The pharmacokinetics of an immediate-release formulation of zolpidem tartrate in eight patients with chronic hepatic insufficiency was compared to results in healthy subjects. Following a single 20 mg oral zolpidem tartrate dose, mean C max and AUC were found to be two times (250 vs 499 ng/mL) and five times (788 vs 4,203 ng∙hr/mL) higher, respectively, in hepatically compromised patients. T max did not change. The mean half-life in cirrhotic patients of 9.9 hr (range: 4.1 to 25.8 hr) was greater than that observed in normal subjects of 2.2 hr (range: 1.6 to 2.4 hr) [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Warnings and Precautions (5.8), Use in Specific Populations (8.7)] .
AMBIEN CR was not studied in patients with renal impairment. The pharmacokinetics of an immediate-release formulation of zolpidem tartrate were studied in 11 patients with end-stage renal failure (mean Cl Cr = 6.5 ± 1.5 mL/min) undergoing hemodialysis three times a week, who were dosed with zolpidem tartrate 10 mg orally each day for 14 or 21 days. No statistically significant differences were observed for C max , T max , half-life, and AUC between the first and last day of drug administration when baseline concentration adjustments were made. Zolpidem was not hemodialyzable. No accumulation of unchanged drug appeared after 14 or 21 days. Zolpidem pharmacokinetics was not significantly different in renally impaired patients. No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with compromised renal function.
Coadministration of zolpidem with other CNS depressants increases the risk of CNS depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. Zolpidem tartrate was evaluated in healthy volunteers in single-dose interaction studies for several CNS drugs. Imipramine in combination with zolpidem produced no pharmacokinetic interaction other than a 20% decrease in peak levels of imipramine, but there was an additive effect of decreased alertness. Similarly, chlorpromazine in combination with zolpidem produced no pharmacokinetic interaction, but there was an additive effect of decreased alertness and psychomotor performance.
A study involving haloperidol and zolpidem revealed no effect of haloperidol on the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of zolpidem. The lack of a drug interaction following single-dose administration does not predict the absence of an effect following chronic administration.
An additive adverse effect on psychomotor performance between alcohol and oral zolpidem was demonstrated [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Following five consecutive nightly doses at bedtime of oral zolpidem tartrate 10 mg in the presence of sertraline 50 mg (17 consecutive daily doses, at 7:00 am, in healthy female volunteers), zolpidem C max was significantly higher (43%) and T max was significantly decreased (-53%). Pharmacokinetics of sertraline and N-desmethylsertraline were unaffected by zolpidem.
A single-dose interaction study with zolpidem tartrate 10 mg and fluoxetine 20 mg at steady-state levels in male volunteers did not demonstrate any clinically significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions. When multiple doses of zolpidem and fluoxetine were given at steady state and the concentrations evaluated in healthy females, an increase in the zolpidem half-life (17%) was observed. There was no evidence of an additive effect in psychomotor performance.
Drugs that affect drug metabolism via cytochrome P450
Some compounds known to inhibit CYP3A may increase exposure to zolpidem. The effect of inhibitors of other P450 enzymes on the pharmacokinetics of zolpidem is unknown.
A single-dose interaction study with zolpidem tartrate 10 mg and itraconazole 200 mg at steady-state levels in male volunteers resulted in a 34% increase in AUC 0–∞ of zolpidem tartrate. There were no pharmacodynamic effects of zolpidem detected on subjective drowsiness, postural sway, or psychomotor performance.
A single-dose interaction study with zolpidem tartrate 10 mg and rifampin 600 mg at steady-state levels in female subjects showed significant reductions of the AUC (-73%), C max (-58%), and T 1/2 (-36 %) of zolpidem together with significant reductions in the pharmacodynamic effects of zolpidem tartrate. Rifampin, a CYP3A4 inducer, significantly reduced the exposure to and the pharmacodynamic effects of zolpidem [see Drug Interactions (7.2)] .
Similarly, St. John’s wort, a CYP3A4 inducer, may also decrease the blood levels of zolpidem.
A single-dose interaction study with zolpidem tartrate 5 mg and ketoconazole, a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor, given as 200 mg twice daily for 2 days increased C max of zolpidem (30%) and the total AUC of zolpidem (70%) compared to zolpidem alone and prolonged the elimination half-life (30 %) along with an increase in the pharmacodynamic effects of zolpidem [see Drug Interactions (7.2)] .
Additionally, fluvoxamine (a strong inhibitor of CYP1A2 and a weak inhibitor of CYP3A4 and CYP2C9) and ciprofloxacin (a strong inhibitor of CYP1A2 and a moderate inhibitor of CYP3A4) are also likely to inhibit zolpidem’s metabolic pathways, potentially leading to an increase in zolpidem exposure.
Other drugs with no interactions with zolpidem
A study involving cimetidine/zolpidem tartrate and ranitidine/zolpidem tartrate combinations revealed no effect of either drug on the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of zolpidem.
Zolpidem tartrate had no effect on digoxin pharmacokinetics and did not affect prothrombin time when given with warfarin in healthy subjects.
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