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Neuropsychobiology. 2001;44(3):139-49.

Insomnia related to dysthymia: polysomnographic and psychometric comparison with normal controls and acute therapeutic trials with trazodone.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Vienna, Austria.


Utilizing polysomnography (PSG) and psychometry, objective and subjective sleep and awakening quality was investigated in 11 patients (mean age 50 +/- 14) with nonorganic insomnia (F 51.0) related to dysthymia (F 34.1) as compared with 11 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Patients demonstrated decreased sleep efficiency and sleep stage S2 as well as increased sleep latency to S1, S2 and S3, wakefulness within the total sleep period, number of awakenings, S1 and REM sleep. There was no intergroup difference in REM latency. Subjective sleep quality and the total score of the Self-Assessment Scale for Sleep and Awakening Quality (SSA) were deteriorated as were evening and morning well-being, mood, affectivity and drowsiness. Noopsychic measures showed deteriorated numerical memory, fine motor activity and reaction time variability. In a placebo-controlled crossover design study, the acute effects of 100 mg trazodone, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor with a sedative action due to 5HT(2) and alpha(1) receptor blockade, were investigated in the patients. As compared with placebo, trazodone induced an increase in slow-wave sleep (S3 + 4), a lengthening of REM latency, a decrease in REM sleep and a normalization of the periodic leg movement (PLM) index. In the morning, there was a minimal increase in somatic complaints and a decrease in critical flicker frequency and systolic blood pressure. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that dysthymia induced significant changes in objective and subjective sleep and awakening quality, which were counteracted by 100 mg trazodone, thus suggesting a key-lock principle in the treatment of nonorganic insomnia related to dysthymia with this drug.

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