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Excessive sleepiness

GABAA receptor

In vitro and clinical studies suggest GABAA receptor inhibitors could help treat hypersomnias (excessive sleepiness). Increased GABAA receptor signaling has been associated with increased drowsiness. In cell culture, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with hypersomnias plus g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) increased GABAA receptor activity compared with CSF from non-hypersomnolent individuals plus GABA. In the cells, treatment with the generic GABAA receptor antagonist flumazenil prevented the increased activity caused by the CSF from hypersomnolent individuals. In seven hypersomnolent patients, flumazenil increased psychomotor vigilance and alertness compared with saline control. Next steps include larger clinical studies.

SciBX 5(48); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1265
Published online Dec. 13, 2012

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Rye, D.B. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online Nov. 21, 2012;
Contact: David B. Rye, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.