Management of Nightmare Disorder in Adults

Erin D. Callen, PharmD, BCPS; Tiffany L. Kessler, PharmD, BCPS; Krista G. Brooks, PharmD; Tom W. Davis, MD


US Pharmacist. 2018;43(11):21-26. 

In This Article

Epidemiology and Etiology

Occasional nightmares are relatively common, but nightmare disorder affects between 2% and 6% of adults.[1,3] It is more common in younger adults than in older adults. More women than men have nightmare disorder during young adulthood, but there is no difference in those aged 60 years and older.[1,3] Although they can be idiopathic, recurrent nightmares are often related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders, and PTSD patients—up to 80% of whom experience nightmares—have been studied the most regarding nightmares.3 Medications that affect neurotransmitter levels in the central nervous system are also associated with nightmares (Table 1).[4]