FRIGHTENING DREAMS AND DOSAGE SCHEDULE OF TRICYCLIC AND NEUROLEPTIC DRUGS

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Abstract

One previous study reported that psychiatric inpatients on bedtime-only doses of tricyclic or neuroleptic drugs reported more frequent frightening dreams than did those on divided daily doses. As a further test of this hypothesis, and in order to see whether differences in frequency of frightening dreams were a function of differences in total dream recall, we administered a questionnaire to outpatients in a Veterans Administration Hospital Mental Hygiene Clinic, asking about frequency of dream recall, frequency of frightening dream recall, and doses and times of any medications taken. Questionnaire reports of medications were checked with the medical record of the patient; for 48 patients on tricyclic or neuroleptic drugs the reports agreed, and the data of these patients were analyzed. Our findings corroborated the previous report of more frequent frightening dreams in patients on bedtime-only dosage schedules (p < .01). In addition, we found no significant difference between the two groups with respect to frequency of dream recall; thus a difference in the affect of dreams, rather than a difference in quantity of dream recall, constituted the difference between the two groups. When a patient on bedtime doses of tricyclic or neuroleptic drugs has undesirable frightening dreams, the clinician should consider a change to divided daily doses.

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