Drugs and Air Operations
DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY FARNBOROUGH (UNITED KINGDOM) CENTRE FOR HUMAN SCIENCES
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There can be little doubt that the performance of air personnel may deteriorate during intensive and sustained operations, and much thought has been given to the use of hypnotics to preserve sleep, and stimulants to enhance vigilance. The effect of these two possibilities may be complementary. Stimulants may be particularly useful for critical periods of work likely to involve impaired performance when used against a background of hypnotics to ensure adequate sleep in limited rest periods. However, the use of hypnotics and stimulants demands the most careful evaluation of each individual drug, and of their interactions. In the case of hypnotics the overriding consideration, assuming efficacy, is duration of action which is dependent on the dose and the pharmacokinetic profile. Determination of the minimal dose is essential. Information on the pharmacokinetic profile is useful, though it is not possible to predict duration of action from such data with any certainty.
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