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Praxis (Bern 1994). 2019 Jan;108(2):131-138. doi: 10.1024/1661-8157/a003189.

[Pharmacotherapy of Sleep-Wake Disorders].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

1 Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Department of Neurology and Neurobiology Research Unit, Kopenhagen, Dänemark.
2 Sleep and Health Zürich (SHZ), Universität Zürich.
3 Klinik für Neurologie, Universitätsspital Zürich.
4 Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität Zürich.


in English, German

Pharmacotherapy of Sleep-Wake Disorders Abstract. Sleep is a complex behavior, coordinated by many different brain regions and neurotransmitters. These neurochemical systems can be pharmacologically influenced to modulate wakefulness and sleep. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is often treated with dopaminergic drugs, which in mild cases range from caffeine via (ar)modafinil to amphetamine derivatives. Tricyclic antidepressants and melatonin-based drugs are also used to promote alertness, but to a lesser extent. The drugs used to promote sleep include GABA-ergic drugs such as benzodiazepines and Z-hypnotics as well as histamine H1 receptor antagonists. Exogenous melatonin or a pharmacological combination of melatonin receptor agonists and 5-HT2C receptor antagonists are also used in mild cases. Selective and dual orexin (hypocretin) receptor antagonists (DORA) as well as drugs binding to specific 5-HT receptors are currently being investigated as future sleep-promoting drugs. However, pharmacological treatment is not always the primary treatment option, insomnia is treated first-line with cognitive behavioral therapy, and continuous positive airway pressure is used to treat sleep apnea.


Dopamin; ETS; Excessive daytime sleepiness; Exzessive Tagesschläfrigkeit; FTA; Glutamat; Neuropeptid; Neurotransmitter; Schlaf-Wach-Störung; Somnolence diurne excessive; dopamine; glutamate; neuropeptide; neurotransmetteur; neurotransmitter; sleep-wake disorder; trouble de l’éveil et du sommeil


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