Relationship Between Zolpidem Concentrations and Sleep Parameters in Pediatric Burn Patients

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Abstract

Zolpidem is a short-acting non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that is used to improve sleep architecture in patients with burn injuries. This study evaluated the relationship between zolpidem administration and sleep parameters in a cohort of children with severe burn injuries. Standard age-based zolpidem dosing practices were employed. Polysomnography data were recorded at 30-second intervals throughout the night. Serum concentrations of zolpidem were measured at 0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 hours after administration of the first dose. The relationship between zolpidem concentrations and sleep parameters was evaluated using Markov mixed-effects pharmacodynamic models. Ten children received two doses of zolpidem at 22:00 and 02:00 hours. The median total amount of sleep was 361.0 (interquartile range [IQR]: 299.0–418.5) minutes; approximately 65% of the normal reference value for an 8-hour period. Slow-wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep were also dramatically reduced (18–37% of normal). With two doses of zolpidem, stage 2 sleep was 99% of normal levels. Higher peak zolpidem concentrations were associated with increased stage 2 sleep (r2 = .54; P = .04). Despite this, a median of 120.0 (IQR: 99.5–143.5) transitions between nocturnal sleep stages were recorded, with a median of 55.5 (IQR: 36–75) night-time awakenings per patient. In pediatric burn patients, higher zolpidem serum concentrations were associated with restoration of stage 2 sleep to normal levels. Nonetheless, slow-wave and REM sleep were profoundly depressed with frequent transitions between sleep stages, suggesting that alternative hypnotic agents may be required to restore normal sleep architecture in severely burned children.

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