Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) has a known association with other medical conditions, including narcolepsy and neurodegenerative diseases such as synuclienopathies. RBD is currently treated with clonazepam as a first-line therapy. Recent research suggests that the pathophysiology underlying RBD may involve a dopaminergic deficiency, given its association with Parkinson syndromes and restless legs syndrome (RLS). We report on the efficacy of pramipexole, a dopaminergic D2-3 receptor agonist, in the treatment of RBD.
The first 10 consecutive patients presenting with a history and polysomnographically confirmed RBD were given pramipexole as either a single dose before bedtime or as a divided dose regimen with the first dose given in the early evening and the second dose at bedtime. Medication was titrated to control RBD symptoms and the clinical response was monitored through interviews with the patient, spouse, and close family members during the course of the study at regularly scheduled follow-up visits.
The mean length of treatment was 13.1 months, and the average total evening dose of pramipexole at the end of the study was 0.89+/-0.31 mg. A divided dose regimen of pramipexole was used in 56% of patients remaining on pramipexole. We found that 89% of patients experienced either a moderate reduction or complete resolution in the frequency of RBD symptoms throughout the duration of the study. Moreover, 67% reported at least a moderate reduction in the severity of remaining symptoms.
Pramipexole markedly reduced the frequency and severity of RBD symptoms and appeared to maintain efficacy for up to 25 months as assessed at follow-up visits. Clonazepam may have numerous unwanted side effects in the elderly or narcoleptics with RBD, such as prominent sedation and the potential exacerbation of underlying obstructive breathing in sleep. The potential role of pramipexole in improving RBD and its associated dopamine deficient syndromes warrants further research in the use of dopaminergic agonists as a potential first-line alternative therapy for RBD.
"RBD was mentioned in both Barcelona cases (Gaig et al. 2010) and was diagnosed in our patient as well. Pramipexole may have had a favorable influence on the intensity of RBD (Schmidt et al. 2006), however, RBD did not worsen after the discontinuation of pramipexole in our patient. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the case of an 86 year old female, in whom narcolepsy with cataplexy (NC) manifested at 52 years of age. She was treated by an amphetamine-like drug phenmetrazine and tricyclic antidepressants for more than 10 years. Hypokinetic-rigid syndrome manifested at 83 years of age and Parkinson´s disease (PD) was diagnosed. Detailed examination at the age of 86 confirmed the previous diagnosis of NC and the diagnosis of PD. Severe periodic limb movements in sleep, severe sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder and restless legs syndrome, which are frequently comorbid in NC and PD, were revealed. The patient's somnolence worsened, apparently accentuated by pramipexole treatment, as changing therapy to levodopa led to a reduction of sleepiness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pramipexole is a non-ergot dopamine agonist shown to be efficacious in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). This review addresses the literature concerning pramipexole's efficacy in treating motor and non-motor symptoms in PD, its impact on the development of dyskinesias and response fluctuations, the issue of neuroprotection, and the risk for developing adverse events such as increased somnolence, attacks of sudden onset of sleep, cardiac valvulopathy and impulse control disturbances.
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