Zolpidem high-dose abuse: what about the liver? Results from a series of 107 patients

Fabio Lugoboni, Antonio Mirijello, Laura Morbioli, Marco Faccini, Rebecca Casari, Salvatore De Cosmo, Antonio Gasbarrini, Giovanni Addolorato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Z-Drugs (ZDs) have been developed to limit benzodiazepines (BZDs) abuse for sleep disorders. Data on the liver toxicity of zolpidem (ZLM) are lacking or anecdotal. The authors evaluated the presence of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) among a cohort of high-dose ZLM abusers. Methods: Retrospective study analyzing clinical records of 1112 consecutive patients admitted for BZDs detoxification from 2003 to 2018. Inclusion criteria: age >18 y.o.; ZLM abuse/dependence; high-dose ZDs abuse. Exclusion criteria: missing lab data; lack of informed consent. Main outcome was the presence of DILI measured as elevation of ALT/AST levels >250 U/l. Results: A total of 107 patients met the eligibility criteria. Liver enzymes alterations were present in 9.3% (95% CI 4.6–16.5%); one patient (0.9%, 95% CI 0.0–2.8%) showed DILI criteria. BMI significantly influenced transaminases levels. No correlations between duration nor doses of ZLM abuse and transaminases levels were found. Conclusion: The present study shows a very low prevalence of DILI among high-dose ZLM abusers. The prevalence of hypertransaminasemia was in line with general population. On one hand ZLM has a substantially safe liver profile but on the other hand ZLM abuse and dependence, especially at very high doses, represents an emerging problem.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • abuse
  • dependence
  • DILI
  • HDU
  • Z-Drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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