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REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (cont.)

REM Sleep Disorder Causes

The exact cause ofREM sleep behavior disorder(RBD) is unknown, although the disorder may occur in association with various degenerative neurological conditionssuch as Parkinson disease, multisystem atrophy, diffuse Lewy body dementia,and Shy-Drager syndrome. In a majority of persons the cause is unknown, and in the other half, the cause is associated with alcohol or sedative-hypnotic withdrawal, tricyclic antidepressant (such as imipramine), or serotonin reuptake inhibitor use (such as fluoxetine,sertraline, orparoxetine)or other types of antidepressants (mirtazapine).

RBD often precedes the development ofthese neurodegenerative diseases by several years. In one study, 38% of patients diagnosed withRBDsubsequently developed Parkinson disease within an average time of 12-13 years from the onset ofRBDsymptoms. The prevalence of RBD is increased in persons with Parkinson disease and in multisystem atrophy where it is observed in 69% of these patients. The relationship betweenRBDand Parkinson disease is complex; however, not all persons with RBD develop Parkinson disease.

Last Reviewed 12/8/2017
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Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a newly described disorder, recognized as a distinct clinical entity following a series of reports in 1986 of adults with RBD.

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