Common drug offers better sleep to Alzheimer's patients

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Washington, Mar 5 : A study by researchers from Stanford University and Brazil's Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo has found that a drug usually meant for the treatment of cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, may also aid in limiting sleep disturbances in patients.

It's long believed that Alzheimer's patients usually experience sleep-disordered breathing and this drug, called donepezil, may reduce these disturbances.

The researchers evaluated the effect of donepezil, on obstructive sleep apnea in 23 patients with Alzheimer disease in a randomized, double-blind design.

For the study, the patients were categorised into two groups: donepezil-treated (11) and placebo-treated (12), and polysomnography and cognitive evaluations were performed at baseline and 3 months.

After the test period, it was found that patients treated with donepezil were found to have improved oxygen saturation, apnea-hypopnea index scores, and cognitive scores, and also increased sleep duration, as compared with those treated with placebo.

This study is published in the recent issue of the journal CHEST.

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