European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 89–95 | Cite as

Consequences of the new zolpidem prescription regulations: a cohort study from the French national healthcare database

  • J. TouchardEmail author
  • P. Sabatier
  • G. Airagnes
  • S. Berdot
  • B. Sabatier
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



To determine changes in the prevalence of zolpidem consumption since the change in the regulations of prescription. Formulations containing zolpidem were subject to the regulations of narcotics by the French decree of April 7, 2017.


Longitudinal cohort study using data from the representative French healthcare database. The main outcome was the prevalence of oral hypnotic drug reimbursement before and after April 2017. The secondary outcome was the change in prescription habits for zolpidem since the decree in long-term users and excessive users.


A total of 81,174 individuals had at least one hypnotic drug reimbursement; among, whom 2143 had at least one reimbursement of zolpidem. Before the decree, 26% had at least one reimbursement of zolpidem, whereas it dropped to 18.4% after the decree. Among the 545 long-term users, the reimbursement of zolpidem was discontinued after the decree for 60.4% and 24.2% retained zolpidem as a treatment. The main replacement drug was zopiclone for 6.4% of them. Among the 1598 excessive users, the reimbursement of zolpidem was stopped after the decree for 16.5% and 56.3% retained zolpidem as a treatment. The main replacement drug was zopiclone for 12.1% of them.


The French decree had a major impact on the reimbursement of oral zolpidem. Indeed, prescription of the hypnotic was discontinued for half of the long-term users of zolpidem, and just over one-sixth of the excessive users discontinued the prescription of zolpidem after the decree.


Zolpidem Prescription regulation Healthcare database Excessive users 


Role of authors

All authors made substantial contributions to the conception, analysis, or interpretation of the work and contributed to the intellectual content of manuscript. They declare final approval of the version to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study protocol was submitted to the appropriate INSERM and CNAMTS entities, as legally required. In addition, an ethics committee approved the study protocol (CERHUPO no. 2018-07-03/CDW_2018_0008).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

228_2019_2737_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (75 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 75 kb)
228_2019_2737_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (33 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmacy Department, Georges-Pompidou European HospitalAssistance Publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParisFrance
  2. 2.Equipe 22, UMR 1138 INSERMCentre de Recherche des CordeliersParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Addictology, Georges-Pompidou European HospitalAssistance Publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParisFrance
  4. 4.Faculty of Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy DepartmentParis-Sud UniversityChâtenay MalabryFrance

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