Insomnia in the elderly. A review for the primary care practitioner. Sleep

University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, VASDHS, 92161, USA.
Sleep (Impact Factor: 4.59). 03/2000; 23 Suppl 1(1, supplement):S23-30; discussion S36-8.
Source: PubMed


The elderly are known to have a high prevalence of insomnia. Causes of insomnia include: medical, psychiatric, and drug issues; circadian rhythm changes; sleep disorders; and psychosocial factors. The elderly frequently use sleeping aids. Risks associated with elderly patients' use of hypnotic drugs are attributable to concomitant comorbid conditions, use of multiple medications, altered pharmacokinetics, and increased central nervous system sensitivity to these drugs. Treatment options for insomnia include behavior modification and pharmacotherapy. The choice of hypnotics is based on matching the nature of the insomnia to the hypnotic agent. Benzodiazepine receptor agonists are common hypnotics prescribed for insomnia in the elderly. The ideal agent has rapid onset, duration of action that lasts through the night but no residual daytime effects, and no adverse effects. The longer-acting agents have been shown to result in a higher risk of falls and hip fractures in the elderly. This relationship is not apparent with short-acting agents. Zaleplon, the newest benzodiazepine receptor agonist, has the shortest half-life of available agents. Studies have demonstrated that zaleplon is effective in improving sleep latency, duration, and sleep quality in the elderly. Zaleplon does not appear to cause rebound insomnia, residual sedation, or adversely affect psychomotor function. The key for the healthcare professional is finding the appropriate treatment or treatment combination, including behavioral modification and pharmacotherapy. When hypnotics are indicated, the most appropriate short-acting agent should be considered.

1 Follower
41 Reads
  • Source
    • "These usually manifest as increased sleep fragmentation, number of arousals and excessive daytime sleepiness (Ancoli-Israel, 2000; Shub et al., 2009; Vitiello & Borson, 2001) and are consistent with change in sleep architecture. The time spent in lighter stages of sleep is increased, whereas time spent in slow wave, rapid eye movement (REM) and total sleep time decrease (Ancoli-Israel, 2000; Ohayon et al., 2004; Vitiello & Borson, 2001). Complaints of insomnia in elderly subjects are frequently associated with poor health (e.g. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Physicians treating demented individuals are confronted with complex clinical presentations. This complexity results from the multi-factorial nature of clinical phenomena, the aetiologies of these phenomena, which differ from similar symptoms in younger populations, limited physiological reserves and the multiple co-morbidities and medications. This intricacy is well exemplified within the clinical presentation and management of psychological and behavioural symptoms of dementia. The latter are associated with a poor quality of life, increased burden for both patient and caregivers. A further challenge and source for frustration is the fact that many of the medications used to treat cognitive and behavioural symptoms of dementia are only marginally effective or not effective at all, on the one hand, and associated with increased risk for morbidity and mortality on the other hand. In the present review, we discuss these factors in the context of polypharmacy and suggest further clinical and research strategies that may enable more accurate and less harmful therapeutic strategies.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2013; 17(07):1-11. DOI:10.1017/S1461145713000412 · 4.01 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Compared to young adults, polysomnography(PSG- ) derived sleep architecture in older adults presents with increased NREM Stage 1 sleep and reduced amounts or absence of NREM Stage 3 and 4 sleep, indicating less deep sleep (or slow wave sleep) but more light sleep in those subjects [11] [12]. The proportion of REM sleep stays the same but the latency of REM sleep may shorten, resulting in advanced sleep phase and increase in early morning awakening [13]. Consequently, sleep disturbance is highly associated with fatigue, daytime sleepiness, psychological distress, and physical discomfort and, thereby impairing daytime functioning, quality of life as well as physical and mental health [1] [2] [14] [15]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Study Objectives. To examine the stimulation effect of auricular magnetic press pellet therapy on older female adults with sleep disturbance as determined by polysomnography (PSG). Design. Randomized, single-blind, experimental-controlled, parallel-group. Setting. Community. Participants. Twenty-seven older female adults with sleep disturbance according to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) >5 for at least 3 months were recruited. Participants were screened by both the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), as well as polysomnography prior to randomization. Interventions. All eligible participants were randomly allocated into the experimental or control group. Both groups were taped with magnetic press pellet on auricular points for 3 weeks. The experimental group was treated by applying pressure on the magnetic press pellets 3 times per day while no stimulation was applied on the control group. Measurements and Results. Both groups were measured by PSG and PSQI at the beginning of the study and 3 weeks after the study. Both groups showed improvements on PSQI scores compared to the baseline. One-way analysis of covariance adjusted for baseline scores showed that significant improvements of PSG-derived sleep parameters, such as sleep efficiency, were found in the experimental group. However, no significant differences between groups were observed in the proportion of sleep stages with the exception of Stage 2. Conclusions. Auricular therapy using magnetic pellets and stimulation by pressing was more effective in improving the sleep quality compared to auricular therapy without any stimulation.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 03/2013; 2013:530438. DOI:10.1155/2013/530438 · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Insomnia incidence and its medical importance is often underestimated, especially in the elderly population, in which it is associated with a significant increase in morbidity and mortality, as well as with an increase in admission to nursing homes [77]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Trazodone is a triazolopyridine derivative that belongs to the class of serotonin receptor antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). The drug is approved and marketed in several countries worldwide for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adult patients. In clinical studies, trazodone has demonstrated comparable antidepressant activity to other drug classes, including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline (norepinephrine) reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Moreover, the SARI action of trazodone may overcome the tolerability issues that are often associated with second-generation antidepressants such as SSRIs (i.e. insomnia, anxiety and sexual dysfunction). Recent focus has been placed on the development of a new prolonged-release once-a-day formulation of trazodone (TzCOAD), which may provide improved tolerability over the conventional immediate-release formulation of trazodone. Clinical studies have led to the recent approval in the USA of TzCOAD (as Oleptro™; Angelini Labopharm LLC, Princeton, NJ, USA), which may see resurgence of interest in the drug for the management of patients with MDD. Although trazodone is approved for the treatment of depression, evidence supports the use of low-dose trazodone as an off-label hypnotic for the treatment of sleep disorders in patients with MDD. The most common adverse effects reported with trazodone are drowsiness (somnolence/sedation), headache, dizziness and dry mouth. Other events reported, albeit with low incidence, include orthostatic hypotension (particularly in elderly patients or those with heart disease), minimal anticholinergic activity, corrected QT interval prolongation and torsade de pointes, cardiac arrhythmias, and rare occurrences of priapism and suicidal ideation. Overall, trazodone is an effective and well tolerated antidepressant (SARI) with an important role in the current treatment of MDD both as monotherapy and as part of a combination strategy. Trazodone is effective in controlling a wide range of symptoms of depression, while avoiding the negative effects on sleep seen with SSRI antidepressants. The recently approved prolonged-release formulation should provide further optimization of this antidepressant and may be useful for enabling an appropriate therapeutic dose to be administered with improved patient compliance.
    CNS Drugs 12/2012; 26(12):1033-49. DOI:10.1007/s40263-012-0010-5 · 5.11 Impact Factor
Show more