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Effect of aripiprazole on non-24-hour sleep–wake rhythm disorder comorbid with major depressive disorder: a case report

Authors Matsui K, Takaesu Y, Inoue T, Inada K, Nishimura K

Received 9 March 2017

Accepted for publication 10 April 2017

Published 19 May 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1367—1371


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi

Kentaro Matsui,1,2 Yoshikazu Takaesu,2,3 Takeshi Inoue,3 Ken Inada,1 Katsuji Nishimura1

1Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, 2Japan Somnology Center, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, 3Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan

Background: Patients with non-24-hour sleep–wake rhythm disorder (N24SWD) exhibit a sleep pattern that is asynchronous with the external light–dark cycle, typically involving a cycling, relapsing–remitting pattern of sleep disturbances, including nighttime insomnia and daytime sleepiness. Here, we report the case of a patient with N24SWD comorbid with major depressive disorder, who was successfully treated with a low dose of aripiprazole.
Case presentation: A 47-year-old female presented with an 8-year complaint of difficulty falling asleep and waking up in the morning. The patient was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at the age of 35 years and was treated with various antidepressants since that time. At the age of 40 years, the patient’s sleep–wake cycle began to extend without exacerbation of depressive symptoms. The patient was diagnosed with N24SWD at the age of 43 years. Ramelteon 8 mg/d and then melatonin 1 mg/d were administered, but these did not provide effective treatment. In January 2016, after treatment with aripiprazole 3 mg/d in the morning for 4 weeks, the patient’s sleep–wake cycle became markedly synchronized to the environmental light–dark cycle. Her sleep–wake cycle remained synchronized when the same dose of aripiprazole was administered for at least 6 months.
Conclusion: Treatment-refractory asynchrony of the sleep–wake cycle in an N24SWD patient with depression was successfully treated with aripiprazole. Although the detailed mechanism of action is unclear, aripiprazole may be an appropriate treatment for patients with circadian rhythm sleep–wake disorders.

Keywords: circadian rhythm sleep–wake disorder, non-24-hour sleep–wake rhythm disorder, melatonin, long sleep duration, antipsychotic

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