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Prazosin treatment of trauma nightmares and sleep disturbance in soldiers deployed in Iraq

Authors

  • Jess Calohan,

    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness
    Current affiliation:
    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center
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  • Kris Peterson,

    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness
    Current affiliation:
    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center
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  • Elaine R. Peskind,

    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness
    Current affiliation:
    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center
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  • Murray A. Raskind

    Corresponding author
    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness
    Current affiliation:
    1. Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Northwest Network Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center
    • VA Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 S. Columbian Way, S116 6 EAST, Seattle, WA 98108
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  • This article was edited by the journal's Editor-Elect, Daniel S. Weiss.

  • This work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense PR054292. The authors would like to acknowledge Susan Martin for manuscript preparation and Steve Millard and Dan Morelli for statistical analysis.

    The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the US Government.

Abstract

Trauma nightmares and sleep disturbance impair combat soldiers' functioning. The alpha-1 adrenoreceptor antagonist prazosin has been demonstrated effective for these symptoms in Vietnam veterans. Thirteen soldiers seeking relief from distressing trauma nightmares impairing military function in northern Iraq in 2006 received prazosin alone or in combination with other psychotropics. Mean prazosin dose was 4.1 (SD = 2.2) mg before bed. Six soldiers improved markedly and 3 moderately on the Clinical Global Impression of Change Ratings of distressing dreams decreased from an average of 7.0 (SD = 0.7) to 2.9 (SD = 3.0, p < .001) and those of disturbed sleep from 6.7 (SD = 0.9) to 3.7 (SD = 2.4, p < .001). Prazosin appears effective and well tolerated in the desert warfare environment.

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