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SLEEP: Ambien Appears to Remedy Central Sleep Apnea

SLEEP: Ambien Appears to Remedy Central Sleep Apnea

SALT LAKE CITY, June 22 — The sedative Ambien (zolpidem) appears to reduce the symptoms of central sleep apnea, according to a small open-label study reported here.

Patients taking the medication saw both total sleep apnea and central sleep apnea events fall significantly after six weeks of treatment, reported Syed Quadri, M.D., of Henry Ford Hospital at Sleep 2006, the joint meeting of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The reduction in central apnea events appeared, in turn, to improve several other sleep parameters, including total arousals, sleep latency, and sleep efficiency, Dr. Quadri said.

Central sleep apnea is a rarer condition than obstructive sleep apnea, involving a dysfunction in the brain systems that govern breathing rather than a blockage of the airway. Many patients with central sleep apnea also have some obstructive apnea. In this study, patients were classified as having the central form if they had 10 or more central events an hour, but five or fewer obstructive events.

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