Objectives: According to ancient Chinese medicine, kudzu root has been used as an ingredient to treat alcohol intoxication for centuries. Kudzu root extract is effective at reducing alcohol intake in animals and in humans, both in a natural-settings laboratory environment and on an outpatient basis. In dependent populations, withdrawal from alcohol is associated with disturbed sleep. These disturbances to the quantity and quality of sleep likely impact relapse to drinking. Many medications used to treat alcohol dependence also affect sleep. Therefore, as a possible treatment for alcohol dependence, the impact of kudzu root extract on the sleep/wake cycle is an important aspect of its effectiveness.
Design: This double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial tested the effects of kudzu root extract on the sleep/wake cycles of moderate drinkers.
Results: Kudzu extract had no effect on any of the sleep parameters measured, including sleep efficiency, sleep latency, total time asleep per night, number of waking episodes, time awake per episode, number of moving minutes, number of sleep episodes, time asleep per episode, and number of immobile minutes.
Conclusions: These data suggest that the administration of kudzu root extract does not disturb sleep/wake cycles of moderate drinkers, and as such its utility as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence remains free of any potential side-effects on sleep.