Sleep-related eating disorder associated with zolpidem: cases compiled from a literature review. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Zolpidem is associated with sleep-related eating disorder (SRED). We compiled case reports and performed a descriptive study to identify etiology and aggravating factors. METHODS: A literature search on PubMed's MeSH search feature, CINAHL, and SciFinder was performed using search terms "Zolpidem," "Feeding and Eating Disorders/chemically induced," "Dyssomnias," "sleep eating disorder," and "sleep-related eating disorder." Three reviewers examined all English and Spanish citations and extracted pertinent information. A narrative synthesis of the evidence was prepared. RESULTS: We identified 40 case reports of which 65% were female, and the mean age was 53 years. SRED onset was most commonly seen with daily zolpidem doses of 10mg or higher (95% of patients). Prior medical history included obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (35%), depression (32.5%), and restless leg syndrome (RLS) (25%). Even with controlled RLS and OSA, SRED developed in some patients. All patients had either partial or full amnesia with compulsive eating. Onset of SRED occurred as early as the first dose to after 9 years of use. SRED symptoms occurred nightly in 57.5% of patients. Discontinuation of zolpidem resolved SRED in all patients (n=36). CONCLUSION: SRED associated with zolpidem can occur with any dose, but was most common with higher doses of zolpidem. Therefore, prescribers should initiate lower doses of zolpidem. Interestingly, many patients had underlying disorders known to affect sleep (RLS, OSA, depression). Although it is recommended to control these underlying disorders prior to initiating zolpidem, SRED may still occur. Zolpidem discontinuation resolved all cases of SRED.

published proceedings

  • Sleep Med X

altmetric score

  • 6.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Ho, T., Jimenez, A., Sanchez, I., Seeger, C., & Joseph, M.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Ho, Tiffany||Jimenez, Alyssa||Sanchez, Itzayana||Seeger, Christina||Joseph, Merlyn

publication date

  • January 2020