On-the-Road Driving Performance the Morning after Bedtime Use of Suvorexant 20 and 40 mg: A Study in Non-Elderly Healthy Volunteers

Annemiek Vermeeren, Hong Sun, Eric F P M Vuurman, Stefan Jongen, Cees J Van Leeuwen, Anita C M Van Oers, John Palcza, Xiadong Li, Tine Laethem, Ingeborg Heirman, An Bautmans, Matthew D Troyer, Rebecca Wrishko, Jacqueline McCrea

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Study Objective: To evaluate next-morning driving performance in adults younger than 65 years, after single and repeated doses of suvorexant 20 and 40 mg. Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, 4-period crossover study. Setting: Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Participants: 28 healthy volunteers (15 females), aged 23 to 64 years. Interventions: Suvorexant (20 and 40 mg) for 8 consecutive nights; zopiclone 7.5 mg nightly on day 1 and 8; placebo. Measurements: Performance on day 2 and 9 (9 h after dosing) using a one-hour standardized highway driving test in normal traffic, measuring standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP). Drug-placebo changes in SDLP > 2.4 cm were considered to reflect meaningful driving impairment. Results: Mean drug-placebo changes in SDLP following suvorexant 20 and 40 mg were 1.01 and 1.66 cm on day 2, and 0.48 and 1.31 cm on Day 9, respectively. The 90% CIs of these changes were all below 2.4 cm. Symmetry analysis showed that more subjects had SDLP changes > 2.4 cm than < -2.4 cm following suvorexant 20 and 40 mg on day 2, and following suvorexant 40 mg on day 9. Four female subjects requested that a total of 5 driving tests-all following suvorexant-stop prematurely due to self-reported somnolence. Conclusions: As assessed by mean changes in standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP), there was no clinically meaningful residual effect of suvorexant in doses of 20 and 40 mg on next-morning driving (9 h after bedtime dosing) in healthy subjects < 65 years old. There may be some individuals who experience next-day effects, as suggested by individual changes in SDLP and prematurely stopped tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1803-1813
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Azepines
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Piperazines
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Self Report
  • Sleep Aids, Pharmaceutical
  • Sleep Stages
  • Triazoles
  • Young Adult
  • memory
  • suvorexant
  • DSST
  • balance
  • hypnotics
  • zopiclone
  • plasma concentrations
  • driving
  • orexin antagonist

Cite this

Vermeeren, A., Sun, H., Vuurman, E. F. P. M., Jongen, S., Van Leeuwen, C. J., Van Oers, A. C. M., Palcza, J., Li, X., Laethem, T., Heirman, I., Bautmans, A., Troyer, M. D., Wrishko, R., & McCrea, J. (2015). On-the-Road Driving Performance the Morning after Bedtime Use of Suvorexant 20 and 40 mg: A Study in Non-Elderly Healthy Volunteers. Sleep, 38(11), 1803-1813. https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.5168