The aim of this hypothesis-generating pilot study was to assess prospectively the objective and subjective effects of treatment with quetiapine XR on sleep during early recovery from alcohol dependence (AD).
Recovering subjects with AD and sleep disturbance complaints were treated with quetiapine XR (n = 10) or matching placebo pills (n = 10) for 8 weeks. Polysomnography was used to assess sleep objectively, and the Insomnia Severity Index and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were used to measure subjective insomnia. Other assessment measures included the 10-minute psychomotor vigilance task (for neurobehavioral functioning), the time-line follow-back measure (for alcohol consumption), the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (for alcohol craving), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item scale (for depressive symptoms), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (for anxiety symptoms).
Although there was no effect of quetiapine XR on sleep efficiency (time spent asleep/total recording time), there was a pre-to-post reduction in wake after sleep onset time (P = 0.03) and nonsignificant trends for increases in sleep onset latency (SOL) and stage 2 sleep time. A time × drug interaction was seen for the subjective insomnia, such that quetiapine XR–treated subjects reported greater initial improvement in their subjective insomnia, but the difference was not sustained. There were no differences between treatment groups on other measures or medication compliance.
Quetiapine XR improves objective sleep continuity and transiently improves subjective insomnia early in recovery from AD.