L-tryptophan: a rational hypnotic with clinical potential.

The author states that the use of the amino acid L-tryptophan as a hypnotic might avoid the problems of nonspecificity in the currently used CNS depressants because L-tryptophan is chosen on the basis of the chemistry of normal sleep rather than on a purely empirical basis. He reviews nine studies from his laboratory dealing with the effects of L-tryptophan on sleep. Studies in rats, normal human subjects, and subjects with mild insomnia all demonstrate that L-tryptophan reduces sleep latency. Polygraphic studies demonstrate that L-tryptophan, unlike hypnotics, does not produce distortions of sleep physiology when first administered, on long-term administration, or after withdrawal.
AuthorsE Hartmann
JournalThe American journal of psychiatry (Am J Psychiatry) Vol. 134 Issue 4 Pg. 366-70 (Apr 1977) ISSN: 0002-953X [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID320887 (Publication Type: Clinical Trial, Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Placebos
  • Serotonin
  • Tryptophan
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry (drug effects)
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders (complications)
  • Placebos
  • Rats
  • Serotonin (metabolism)
  • Sleep (drug effects)
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders (drug therapy)
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Tryptophan (pharmacology, therapeutic use)

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