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Medication-Induced Sleep Disturbances

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OBJECTIVE: To review the literature for medication-induced sleep disturbances.

DATA SOURCE: MEDLINE/PUBMED searches (January 2000-May 2010) were conducted to identify pertinent English-language studies.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: References were reviewed to identify literature that provided evidence of sleep disturbances caused by prescription medications.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Review of studies was performed to determine the effect a given medication had on subjects' sleep architecture or those that induced common sleep disorders. Tables were constructed for specific sleep disturbances to guide clinician recognition of such effects.

CONCLUSION: A wide array of prescription medications used in the management of medical and psychiatric disorders can affect an individual's sleep patterns. Different modalities of sleep disturbances may be affected by a multitude of prescription medications. This review serves as an updated description of medications altering sleep architecture or inducing insomnia, periodic limb movement, sedation, sleep attacks, nightmares, and REM parasomnias. To improve patient outcomes, a consultant pharmacist should be familiar with medication-induced sleep disturbances.
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Keywords: Insomnia; Nightmares; Periodic limb movements; Sedation; Sleep architecture; Sleep attacks; Sleep disturbances

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2011

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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