Purpose: The older antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have a variety of effects on sleep, including marked reduction in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS), and sleep latency, and an increase in light sleep. The effects of the newer AEDs on sleep are unknown. Our purpose was to study the effect of gabapentin (GBP) on sleep.
Methods: Ten healthy adults and nine controls were the subjects of this study. All underwent baseline and follow-up polysomnography (PSG) and completed sleep questionnaires. After baseline, the treated group received GBP titrated to 1,800 mg daily. Polygraphic variables and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) scores, a subjective measure of sleep propensity, were compared by using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Results: Nine of the treated subjects achieved the target dose; one was studied with 1,500 mg daily because of dizziness experienced at the higher dose. GBP-treated subjects had an increase in SWS compared with baseline. No difference in the ESS or other polygraphic variables was observed. However, a minor reduction in arousals, awakenings, and stage shifts was observed in treated subjects.
Conclusions: GBP appears to be less disruptive to sleep than are some of the older AEDs. These findings may underlie the drug's therapeutic effect in the treatment of disorders associated with sleep disruption.