The herbal medicine Yokukansan (YKS; Yi-Gan San in Chinese) is reported to be effective for treating rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD). However, the effectiveness and safety of YKS treatment have not been confirmed in a large sample. Thus, we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of YKS treatment on patients with RBD using clinical records.
Treatment outcomes were evaluated using the Clinical Global Impression of Illness Severity (CGI-S) and Improvement (CGI-I) scales. Patients with scores of 1 (very much improved) and 2 (much improved) on the CGI-I were classified as responders. After excluding patients with very mild RBD symptoms and those without detailed clinical information, 36 patients with idiopathic RBD including 17 receiving YKS monotherapy and 19 receiving YKS add-on therapy in addition to other medication were analyzed.
The patients’ mean age [standard deviation, SD] was 69.3 [6.8] years, and the mean duration of RBD morbidity [SD] was 5.7 [3.5] years at the start of YKS treatment. Importantly, 12 of 17 patients (70.6%) receiving YKS monotherapy were responders. However, among patients receiving YKS add-on therapy, the proportion of responders was substantially lower (4 of 19 patients; 21.1%). No adverse events were reported, other than mild gastric distress in one case.
Considering the effectiveness of YKS and the low likelihood of adverse events, YKS should be considered as a potential treatment for patients with RBD.
Matsui K, Sasai-Sakuma T, Ishigooka J, Nishimura K, Inoue Y. Effect of yokukansan for the treatment of idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder: a retrospective analysis of consecutive patients. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(8):1173–1178.