Drug treatment of REM sleep behavior disorders in dementia with Lewy bodies

Laboratory of Epidemiology and Neuroimaging, IRCCS San Giovanni di Dio-FBF, Brescia, Italy.
International Psychogeriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.89). 01/2004; 15(4):377-83. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610203009621
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is often associated with REM sleep behavior disorders (RBD) characterized, in contrast to the usual paralysis of REM sleep, by violent motor and verbal activity.
The pharmacological management of RBD was investigated in three DLB patients treated with clonazepam, a benzodiazepine used as an antiepileptic, or donepezil, a cholinesterase inhibitor.
All three patients had marked improvement. The pharmacodynamic mechanisms underlying the efficacy of the two drugs might be due to facilitator effect on the pedunculopontine nucleus, a key structure in the physiology of REM sleep.