Comorbidity and medication in REM sleep behavior disorder: a multicenter case-control study

Neurology. 2014 Mar 25;82(12):1076-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000247. Epub 2014 Feb 19.


Objective: This controlled study investigated associations between comorbidity and medication in patients with polysomnographically confirmed idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (iRBD), using a large multicenter clinic-based cohort.

Methods: Data of a self-administered questionnaire on comorbidity and medication use of 318 patients with iRBD and 318 matched controls were analyzed. Comparisons between cases and controls were made using logistic regression analysis.

Results: Patients with iRBD were more likely to report depression (odds ratio [OR] 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-2.9) and concomitant antidepressant use (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.4-3.6). Subanalysis of antidepressant agents revealed that the increased use of antidepressants in iRBD was due to selective serotoninergic reuptake inhibitors (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.8-7.0) and not due to other antidepressant classes. Patients with iRBD reported more lifetime antidepressant use than comorbid depression (antidepressant use: OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.3; depression: OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0-2.5). Patients with iRBD reported more ischemic heart disease (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.1). This association did not change substantially when adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-3.9). The use of inhaled glucocorticoids was higher in patients with iRBD compared to controls (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.8-15.8), likely reflecting the higher smoking rate in iRBD (smoking: OR 15.3, 95% CI 2.0-118.8; nonsmoking: OR 2.4, 95% CI 0.4-13.2) and consequent pulmonary disease.

Conclusions: This large study confirms the association between comorbid depression and antidepressant use in iRBD. In addition, there was an unexpected association of iRBD with ischemic heart disease that was not explained by cardiovascular risk factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / drug therapy
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors