Clinic Locations

Woolcock Sleep Clinic
Phone: (02) 9114 0000
Address: 431 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW, 2037 Email: [email protected]
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Phone: (02) 9515 6655
Address: Level 11, Main Block, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW, 2050
Integrated Sleep Health
Phone: (02) 9331 7546
Address: Suite 1, Level 7, 26 College Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010 Email: [email protected]

Professor Ron Grunstein AM

Professor of Sleep Medicine


Has the media frenzy about Zolpidem driven patients into the arms of more dangerous drugs ?

Posted: February 11, 2015



sleepy trader


As part of the Neurosleep research translation initiative supported by the NHMRC, a group of us did a story for the Australian Financial Review with their health editor, Jill Margo AFR Sleep story.

The story is based around the frightening increase in use of anti-psychotics for insomnia – in Australia part of this has been the largely media driven beat-up about the risks of existing hypnotics especially zolpidem.

The key messages of the article were that –

1. Anti-psychotics such as Seroquel (quetiapine), Zyprexa (olanzapine) or Risperidal (risperidone) or similar brands are not agents that should be used in patients with insomnia unless there is a very good reason. These drugs have not been properly evaluated in patients with insomnia without severe mental illness

2. Adverse effects are potentially dangerous to cardiovascular and other health

3. Dose escalation may occur worsening risks of side-effects

4. Insomnia and its cause needs to be evaluated properly in each patient – our clinic has seen patients with delayed sleep phase treated with anti-psychotics, elderly with sleep length misperception placed on these drugs etc.

The AFR ran a short video attached to the story


Professor Ron Grunstein is a Sleep Disorder Specialist based in Sydney, who consults at the Woolcock Clinic and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and undertakes research at the Woolcock Institute, University of Sydney.