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Somnolence (or "drowsiness") is a state of near-sleep, a strong desire for sleep, or sleeping for unusually long periods. It has two distinct meanings, referring both to the usual state preceding falling asleep, and the chronic condition referring to being in that state independent of a circadian rhythm. The disorder characterized by the latter condition is most commonly associated with users of prescription hypnotics, such as mirtazapine or zolpidem.
- sleep apnea
- Lyme disease
- Paget's disease
- clinical depression, especially seasonal affective disorder or SAD (Note: MSLT sleep study findings for people with depression do not demonstrate short sleep latency.)
- increased intracranial pressure, intracranial tumors
- brain oedema
- trauma to the brain, any other intracranial bleeding such as due to ruptured aneurysm
- encephalitis - (viral, bacterial or other agents)
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome
- tranquilizers/hypnotics; especially benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium)
- Some antidepressants. For example: sertraline and venlafaxine.
- some antipsychotics. For example: thioridazine, quetiapine, and olanzapine (Zyprexa) but not haloperidol.
- some analgesics; prescribed or illicit opiates such as Oxycontin or heroin
- some HIV medications. For example: Sustiva and medications containing efavirenz
- some anti-convulsants/Antiepileptic For example: phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal) (see article on Epilepsy.com)
- some antihistamines For example: diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- certain hypertension medications, such as Norvasc
- generally many other agents with impact on central nervous system in sufficient doses
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