Drug info - Ambien (Zolpidem) 'reverses' vegetative state

Discussion in 'Downers and sleeping pills' started by BlueMystic, May 25, 2006.

  1. BlueMystic

    BlueMystic Gold Member

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    http://news.bbc.cohttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5008744.stm.uk/1/hi/health/5008744.stm

    Pill 'reverses' vegetative state
    BBC News
    5/23/2006


    A sleeping pill can temporarily revive people in a permanent vegetative state to the point where they can have conversations, a study finds.

    Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia.

    South African researchers, writing in the NeuroRehabilitation, looked at the effects on three patients of using the drug for up to six years.

    But one expert in neurological rehabilitation said it was possible the patients had a different condition.



    A person in a vegetative state will appear to be awake and may have their eyes open, but will show no awareness of their surroundings.

    They will not be able to interact with other people, and will show no responses to sounds or things that happen around them.

    But they will show signs of movement, and cycles of sleep and may be able to breathe on their own.

    Response

    Each of the three patients studied was given the drug every morning.

    An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state.

    Patient L had been in a vegetative state for three years, showing no response to touch and no reaction to his family.

    After he was given Zolpidem, he was able to talk to them, answering simple questions.

    Patient G was also able to answer simple questions and catch a basketball.

    Patient N had been "constantly screaming", but stopped after being given the drug when he started watching TV and responding to his family.

    Dr Ralf Clauss, now in the nuclear medicine department at the Royal Surrey Hospital was one of the researchers who carried out the study.

    He told the BBC: "For every damaged area of the brain, there is a dormant area, which seems to be a sort of protective mechanism.

    "The damaged tissue is dead, there's nothing you can do.

    "But it's the dormant areas which 'wake up'."

    Activity trigger

    He said drugs like Zolpidem activate receptors for a chemical called GABA in nerve cells in the brain.

    When brain damage occurs, these receptors appear to change shape, so they cannot behave as normal.

    He said the drug appeared to cause the receptors in these dormant areas to change back to their normal shape, triggering nerve cell activity.

    Dr Clauss added: "We are carrying out further research. The next step is to get rid of the sleepiness effect of the drug."

    Mike Barnes, professor of neurological rehabilitation at the Hunters Moor centre in Newcastle, said it was possible that the patients had not had "true" PVS.

    "A diagnosis of PVS means the patient should not wake up and respond."

    He said a study carried out by specialists 10 years ago had shown that up to 45% of patients diagnosed with PVS actually had a range of different conditions, from which they could wake up.

    Professor Barnes added: "This drug could be unmasking a condition from which people are able to wake up temporarily.

    "But if they did have PVS, it would be a remarkable finding, and certainly worth further research."
     
    1. 4/5,
      Very interesting
      May 27, 2006
  2. Micklemouse

    Micklemouse Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    An update, again from the BBC

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6164716.stm

     
  3. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    Where's John Cleese when you need him?
     
  4. Jatelka

    Jatelka Psychedelic Shepherdess Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    Can any You find these PDF's?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16720934

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=15553102&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_docsum

    PS: Is it just SWIJ or is this case horrifying? Both the partner and the womans mother are clear that she would not want to exist in the state she is existing currently. The official solicitor suggests that this be tried, despite the fact that this womans loved ones are in complete opposition to it? Come on! How is this just?
     
  5. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    It 'SOUNDS' like attempted homicide from here as well, Jatelka.

    "He's in a coma from the auto accident." "Oh! He's always borrowing money - let him die." "Okay."
     
  6. snapper

    snapper Gold Member

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    Still, this property of ambien is interesting. It is known for amnesic behavior already in some that take it, so could it be that this amnesic behavior is awakening a 'resting' part of the brain. Is this another version of self, or some manifestation of the subconscious? Sure, the specific case aforementioned is disturbing and wrong, but this property of the drug is unique and raises many questions. Maybe a confirmation that people have multiple or alternative personalities or behaviors ?
     
  7. Micklemouse

    Micklemouse Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    More likely a confirmation of the vegetative state being an extreme state of shock. A Certain Mouse has seen people in catatonic states respond to rapid sedation (intramuscular lorazepam generally, but also haloperidol & clopixol acuphase in small doses). The theory being that they are in such a heightened state of agitation that they cannot actually move. If you read the original article zolpidem was initially used to calm someone who was highly agitated whilst still in a pvs. The drug calmed the agitation and also allowed limited cognition & verbal response to stimulus.

    If this is a temporary condition that would allow the patient to state their true wishes, then all to the good. I think... Much could be learnt about what the patient is experiencing whilst in the pvs. There is no guarantee that there will be no brain damage if the person comes out of the pvs naturally. Families have been known to get it wrong when it comes to peoples wishes in these & similar cases. If the patient chooses to die, are we then looking at euthanasia?

    It is an ethical minefield & no mistake.
     
  8. Nicaine

    Nicaine Titanium Member

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    Interesting how zolpidem works extremely well (for SWIM) when desiring to "come down" in the middle of a strong stimulant high. Rather than producing drowsiness, it sedates and relaxes to an approximately "normal" mental and physiological state. Benzos like lorazepam or clonazepam don't do nearly as good a job. For this reason, I am looking to acquire a backup supply of zolpidem (possibly at great expense/trouble) although he will be requesting his regular doctor to switch to Eszopiclone for sleep.
     
  9. Micklemouse

    Micklemouse Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    Looks like the experts agree, Snapper! A new article from the New Scientist

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11373?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=dn11373

     
  10. championventures

    championventures Newbie

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    Re: Ambien 'reverses' vegetative state

    This is quite the interesting story.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2007