sometimes referred to colloquially as "Z-drugs") are a class of psychoactive drugs that are very benzodiazepine-like in nature.
Efficacy also did not differ between benzodiazepine and Z drug users. On rare occasions, these drugs can produce a fugue state, wherein the patient sleepwalks and may perform relatively complex actions, including cooking meals or driving cars, while effectively unconscious and with no recollection of the events upon awakening.
While this effect is rare (and has also been reported to occur with some of the older sedative drugs such as temazepam and secobarbital), it can be potentially hazardous, and so further development of this class of drugs has continued in an effort to find new compounds with further improved profiles.
Side-effects can differ within the drug class due to differences in metabolism and pharmacology.
For example, long-acting benzodiazepines have problems of drug accumulation especially in the elderly or those with liver disease, and shorter-acting benzodiazepines have a higher risk of more severe withdrawal symptoms.
The review found that almost all trials of sleep disorders and drugs are sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
It was found that the odds ratio for finding results favorable to industry in industry-sponsored trials was 3.6 times higher than non-industry-sponsored studies and that 24% of authors did not disclose being funded by the drug companies in their published papers when they were funded by the drug companies.
Like the benzodiazepines, they exert their effects by binding to and activating the benzodiazepine site of the receptor complex.
Many of these compounds are subtype selective providing novel anxiolytics with little to no hypnotic and amnesiac effects and novel hypnotics with little or no anxiolytic effects.
In support of this claim an analysis of data of clinical trials submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the drugs zolpidem, zaleplon, and eszopiclone found that these sedative hypnotic drugs more than doubled the risks of developing depression compared to those taking placebo pills.
Hypnotic drugs, therefore, may be contraindicated in patients suffering from or at risk of depression.
The paper found that there is little research into hypnotics that is independent from the drug manufacturers.