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McCarter, 2015 Antidepressants Increase REM Sleep Muscle Tone in Patients with and without REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

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Sleep. 2015 Jun 1;38(6):907-17. doi: 10.5665/sleep.4738.

Antidepressants Increase REM Sleep Muscle Tone in Patients with and without REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

McCarter SJ1, St Louis EK1, Sandness DJ1, Arndt K1,2, Erickson M1,3, Tabatabai G1,3, Boeve BF1, Silber MH1.


Abstract at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25325487  Free full text https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434557/



REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is associated with antidepressant treatment, especially in younger patients; but quantitative REM sleep without atonia (RSWA) analyses of psychiatric RBD patients remain limited. We analyzed RSWA in adults receiving antidepressants, with and without RBD.



We comparatively analyzed visual, manual, and automated RSWA between RBD and control groups. RSWA metrics were compared between groups, and regression was used to explore associations with clinical variables.



Tertiary-care sleep center.



Participants included traditional RBD without antidepressant treatment (n = 30, 15 Parkinson disease [PD-RBD] and 15 idiopathic); psychiatric RBD receiving antidepressants (n = 30); and adults without RBD, including antidepressant-treated psychiatric (n = 30), untreated psychiatric (n = 15), and OSA (n = 60) controls.






RSWA was highest in traditional and psychiatric RBD, intermediate in treated psychiatric controls, and lowest in untreated psychiatric and OSA controls (P < 0.01). RSWA distribution and type also differed between antidepressant-treated patients having higher values in anterior tibialis, and PD-RBD with higher submentalis and tonic RSWA. Psychiatric RBD had significantly younger age at onset than traditional RBD patients (P < 0.01).



Antidepressant treatment was associated with elevated REM sleep without atonia (RSWA) even without REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), suggesting that antidepressants, not depression, promote RSWA. Differences in RSWA distribution and type were also seen, with higher anterior tibialis RSWA in antidepressant-treated patients and higher tonic RSWA in Parkinson disease-RBD patients, which could aid distinction between RBD subtypes. These findings suggest that antidepressants may mediate different RSWA mechanisms or, alternatively, that RSWA type and distribution evolve during progressive neurodegeneration. Further prospective RSWA analyses are necessary to clarify the relationships between antidepressant treatment, psychiatric disease, and RBD.



REM sleep behavior disorder; REM sleep without atonia; antidepressants; automated analysis; depression; parasomnia; quantitative analysis; synucleinopathy; tonic muscle activity; transient/phasic muscle activity

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Is that the mechanism that causes some of us to brux, I wonder.

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Yes, it is well known that antidepressants disturb sleep architecture. Doctors who are clueless will routinely prescribe benzodiazepines with antidepressants to counter this effect.

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