We examined the effects of the nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic zopiclone and the benzodiazepine hypnotics triazolam and nitrazepam on standing steadiness. Eight healthy volunteers received placebo, zopiclone (7.5 mg), triazolam (0.25 mg), and nitrazepam (5 mg) in a random-order, double-blind crossover design. Postural sway was assessed before and 1 and 2 h after drug administration using a stabilometer connected to a microcomputer. Triazolam significantly impaired standing steadiness. Zopiclone also impaired standing steadiness but the degree of impairment seemed to be less marked. Nitrazepam 5 mg had no significant effects on postural sway. Triazolam 0.25 mg, zopiclone 7.5 mg, and nitrazepam 5 mg, which are reported to be equipotent to each other as hypnotics, are not equipotent with respect to their effects on postural sway.
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