Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia.
The effects of zolpidem on three patients were studied for a period of six months by South African researchers. Neurological rehabilitation experts reveal that they are in a condition where keeping eyes open, awake but unaware of the surroundings, no interaction and responses, having signs of movement, sleep and breathing called vegetative state.
Zolpidem was given to the patients every morning.
An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug, where out of the three patients (A,B,C), patient A was able to speak and reply to questions, patient B with the same changes and even catches a basketball whereas patient C after constant screaming was able to watch TV and give responses.
This drug reshapes the damaged receptors and triggers nerve cell activity.
Mike Barnes, professor of neurological rehabilitation at the Hunters Moor centre in Newcastle, said it was possible that the patients had not had 'true' PVS means the patient should not wake up and respond.
But if they was no PVS, it would be a remarkable finding, and certainly worth further research.