Idiopathic rapid-eye-movement sleep disorder: associations with antidepressants, psychiatric diagnoses, and other factors, in relation to age of onset

Sleep Med. 2009 Jan;10(1):60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2007.11.019. Epub 2008 Jan 28.


Background: A retrospective, case-control chart review was performed to examine the relationship between the age of onset of idiopathic RBD and secondary associations.

Methods: Forty-eight idiopathic RBD patients were divided into early-onset and late-onset groups, compared to each other, and to their respective non-RBD controls.

Results: There were more females in the early-onset group as compared to their older counterparts (45% vs. 11%, p=0.007). Early-onset patients also had significantly more past and present psychiatric diagnoses [85% (both categories) vs. 46% and 36%, respectively, p<0.01 for both comparisons] and antidepressant use (80% vs. 46%, p=0.02) than the late-onset group. In comparison to non-RBD controls, early-onset patients again exhibited more psychiatric diagnoses (odds ratio=17.0 [3.5-83.4], equivalent for past and present diagnoses) and antidepressant use (odds ratio=12.0 [2.7-53.3]). Late-onset patients also had a higher frequency of past (odds ratio=7.2 [1.8-29.6]) and present (odds ratio=4.6 [1.1-19.3]) psychiatric diagnoses as compared to their non-RBD controls, but did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in antidepressant use. There were otherwise no significant intergroup or intragroup differences with respect to the other assessed variables.

Conclusions: Although causality cannot be inferred, numerous implications can be entertained, particularly in the early-onset group, including direct or indirect correlations with medication use and/or psychopathology and the development of RBD. The relatively high number of females in the early-onset group suggests a unique clinical profile for a condition typically characterized as male-predominant.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / epidemiology*
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents