Donepezil is a common drug used to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. A new study by researchers from Stanford University and Brazil's Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo says that it could be used to reduce the sleep disturbances in the patients.
It's long believed that Alzheimer's patients usually experience sleep-disordered breathing and this drug, called donepezil, may reduce these disturbances.
The researchers evaluated the effect of donepezil, on obstructive sleep apnea in 23 patients with Alzheimer disease in a randomized, double-blind design.
For the study, the patients were categorised into two groups: donepezil-treated (11) and placebo-treated (12), and polysomnography and cognitive evaluations were performed at baseline and 3 months.
After the test period, it was found that patients treated with donepezil were found to have improved oxygen saturation, apnea-hypopnea index scores, and cognitive scores, and also increased sleep duration, as compared with those treated with placebo.
This study is published in the recent issue of the journal CHEST.