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Effect of ramelteon on middle-of-the-night balance in older adults with chronic insomnia.

STUDY OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of ramelteon on middle-of-the-night balance, mobility, and memory in older insomniacs.

METHODS: Thirty-three older adults (age > or = 65 years) with insomnia were enrolled in a single-dose, 3-way crossover study of balance after bedtime administration of ramelteon, 8 mg; zolpidem, 10 mg (positive control); or placebo. Subjects were administered study medication 30 minutes before bedtime and were awakened 2 hours after dosing to evaluate balance (Sensory Organization Test), turning speed and stability, memory (immediate and delayed word recall), and adverse events. There was a 4- to 10-day washout between treatments.

RESULTS: Ramelteon or zolpidem (positive control) was compared with placebo. There were no differences between placebo and ramelteon on the Sensory Organization Test (p = 0.837), turn time (p = 0.776), or turn sway (p = 0.982). The positive control (zolpidem) did reveal significant impairments on the Sensory Organization Test, turn time, and turn sway (p < 0.001, all). Immediate and delayed memory recall were not significantly different with ramelteon (p = 0.683 and p = 0.650, respectively). Immediate recall declined significantly with zolpidem (p = 0.002). Adverse events were infrequent (ramelteon, n = 7; placebo, n = 7; zolpidem, n = 13); none were serious.

CONCLUSION: In older adults, ramelteon did not impair middle-of-the night balance, mobility, or memory relative to placebo.

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