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Rebound insomnia in normals and patients with insomnia after abrupt and tapered discontinuation

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Rebound insomnia was studied in subjects, aged 25–50 years, with insomnia complaints and normal sleep, insomnia complaints and disturbed sleep, and normal sleep with no complaints (N=21,n=7 per group). Standard sleep recordings were collected on a baseline night and after abrupt discontinuation of 6 nights of 0.50 mg triazolam, tapered discontinuation (3 nights of 0.50 mg, 2 nights of 0.25 mg, and 1 night of 0.125 mg triazolam) and 6 nights of placebo. Significantly disturbed sleep on the discontinuation night compared to the baseline night was found. The relative degree of rebound insomnia was greater in the abrupt condition than in either the tapered or placebo conditions. The tapered condition reduced sleep time by half that of the abrupt condition which was twice the reduction found in the placebo condition. An overall (regardless of group or condition) difference in baseline versus discontinuation sleep was found, suggesting that pill discontinuation itself leads to sleep disturbance. Subjects did not differ in rebound insomnia as a function of pre-existing sleep disturbance.

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Roehrs, T., Merlotti, L., Zorick, F. et al. Rebound insomnia in normals and patients with insomnia after abrupt and tapered discontinuation. Psychopharmacology 108, 67–71 (1992).

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