Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Reason to Stay Drug-Free


A new study in the journal Neurology found that people who used the drug ecstasy had an eight times higher risk of developing sleep apnea.

Seventy-one people who had used ecstasy and 62 people who had never used the illegal drug took sleep tests. The ecstasy users had been drug-free for at least two weeks.

The study showed that a similar percent of users and non-users had mild apnea. But ecstasy users were the only people who had moderate and severe apnea.

Of the ecstasy users, 21 percent had mild apnea. Thirteen percent had moderate apnea. And one percent had severe apnea.

In contrast, four percent of men and two percent of women in the general population have any level of apnea.

The researchers found that the longer a person used ecstasy, the more severe their sleep apnea was.

In a U.S. News and World Report article on the study, Dr. Una McCann explained why ecstasy users have a higher risk of sleep apnea.

McCann said that ecstasy damages neurons related to serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is involved in sleep regulation and breathing, among other important functions.

Ecstasy is not the only risk factor for sleep apnea. Learn about other risk factors here.
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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.