Tiagabine is a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) reuptake inhibitor. It is used to prevent seizures in epileptics shown to increase sleep efficiency and levels of delta sleep in older people. The drug company Cepalon sells tiagabine (as a prescription drug) under the name Gabitril.

Tiagabine is widely used in treatment of epilectics, so there is a history of use and its safety profile has been good. It apparently has few drug interactions. A clinical trial among insomniacs found that 4 and 8 mg doses of tiagabine have positive effects on sleep with infrequent adverse effects. Stage 1 and REM sleep was decreased, but slow-wave sleep time increased.

A study published in the journal Sleep in 2006 found that tiagabine had no substantial effect on sleep onset insomnia or on total sleep time. It did, however, increase slow-wave sleep and descrease Stage1 sleep time in patients. The drug has also been tried for generalized social anxiety disorder, which is also sometimes treated with benzodiazapines. It has not been shown to be useful for panic disorder. A clinical trial recently evaluated tiagabine for alcoholism and found it was well tolerated, but much more work needs to be done in this research area before it can be given for alcohol dependence.


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