Drugs may cause violence in sleep

June 21, 2006

A new study links antidepressant drugs to people who act out violent dreams but U.S. experts say more tests are needed before the drugs should be stopped.

Dr. R. Robert Auger led a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic to study people who suffered from REM-sleep behavior disorder, also called RBD.

He found 80 percent of young people who have RBD took antidepressants, a higher percentage than people over 50, the typical age when RBD sets in.

WebMD reports one-half to two-thirds of older RBD patients have or develop degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's.

Research has shown antidepressants affect the dream stage of sleep. Auger said his study may show RBD is caused by the drugs or the illness causing a person to take antidepressants is causing RBD.

He said he won't recommend ending antidepressants but possibly switching to a different kind.

He recommends anyone with RBD symptoms see a sleep specialist and take safety precautions to make sure they don't get hurt in bed.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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