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New medication for PTSD nightmares


Post-traumatic stress disorder-related nightmares may now be treated with the blood pressure drug prazosin. Mayo Clinic researchers are expected to announce the new treatment at the 20th European Congress of Psychiatry in Prague. They will be sharing their systematic literature review of prazosin for the treatment of nightmares. The new usage of the drug is based on 12 prazosin studies, four of them randomized controlled trials. Prozasin has been used previously as a hypertension medication and research into alternative uses began ten years ago.

“The studies showed the drug was well-tolerated and can take effect rapidly, within days to weeks, and some patients reported a return of nightmares when the course of prazosin was stopped,” said Simon Kung, MD, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and principal investigator of the study. “There’s not much available for treating nightmares in terms of medications, so prazosin is a promising option.”

Kung went on to point out that with the low incidence of side effects with prazosin, it would be logical to use it for any kind of nightmare, not just ones brought on by PTSD.

Nightmares are a common and terrifying symptom of PTSD. Vivid images of physical and emotional threats can lead to disrupted sleep and drug and alcohol addiction. The cause of these nightmares is not known but suspected to be a development of overstimulated chemical messenger norepinephrine receptors in the central nervous system.

“The thinking is that pharmacologic agents , like prazosin, that block these receptors may be ideal in treating nightmares,” Dr. Kung explained.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Mayo Clinic

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