Common Sleep Aid Linked to Doubling of Parkinson’s Risk


The nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic zolpidem, widely used as a sleep aid under many different brand names such as Ambien and Sublinox, seems to be linked to a more than doubling of the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

A team of Taiwanese researchers used a national insurance database in Taiwan to contact and review the records of 59,548 adult patients newly diagnosed with sleep disturbances and who used zolpidem and 42,171 subjects who did not use zolpidem between 2002 to 2009. They monitored all the patients for five years. They found that 1.2% of the patients who took zolpidem developed Parkinson’s, compared to 0.5% in the control group.

“Among the patients with sleep disturbance, zolpidem use increased the risk of PD after 5 years of follow-up,” the researchers concluded. “Further mechanistic research of zolpidem effect in PD is needed.”

Zolpidem and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: A nationwide population-based study (Yang, Yu-Wan et al. Journal of Psychiatric Research. Volume 58, Pages 84–88, November 2014. DOI: