for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Thomas Neylan, MD
Headshot of Thomas Neylan
Thomas Neylan



Prior research has identified profound sleep disruption in individuals with PSP. Not only were these individuals sleeping relatively short periods at night, they were also not recuperating lost sleep during the day. Research also showed the relative preservation of a series of nuclei key in regulating wake and arousal. Investigators believe that therapeutically targeting wake promoting centers with a specific medication will improve sleep quality and overall well-being in PSP. To study this, investigators will be doing a double blind, within subject, remote clinical trial with 3 conditions: suvorexant- which targets a wake promoting system, zolpidem- a standard hypnotic that engages sleep promoting systems, versus placebo. Each condition will last 1 week and will be separated by a 1 week washout period on no sleep medications. Investigators will measure sleep patterns and daytime symptoms to determine if suvorexant, zolpidem, or both medications are safe and effective for treating sleep disturbances and improving overall well-being in PSP.


Treatment, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Zolpidem, Suvorexant


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

Male or female ≥18 years of age at baseline.

Documentation of a Progressive Supranuclear Palsy diagnosis as evidenced by one or more clinical features consistent with the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy phenotype as described in the Movement Disorder Society criteria or the NINDS-SPSP criteria.

Written informed consent (and assent when applicable) obtained from subject or subject's legal representative and ability for subject to comply with the requirements of the study.

Have a diagnosis of PSP verified through co-enrollment in ARTFL, LEFFTDS or 4RTNI, or can show evidence of an accurate diagnosis of PSP to the satisfaction of the study team doctor (e.g. through review of medical records, and/or specific communication with a known medical doctor).

Have an active caregiver who is willing and able to participate in this study

Have a mailing address

Have access to a phone

Have stable medications (aside from sleep-modifying medications) for 4 weeks prior to actively starting the study

Be free of sleep modifying medications for 1 week prior to actively starting the study

Be willing to maintain a stable sleeping environment and their typical daily schedule for the duration of the 6-week study

Resides in a US territory or state covered by our research study team.

You CAN'T join if...

Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or unwilling to practice birth control if appropriate during participation in the study.

Presence of a condition or abnormality that in the opinion of the Investigator would compromise the safety of the patient or the quality of the data.

Presence of a major psychiatric disorder aside from anxiety or depression.

Presence of a medical condition other than PSP that could account for cognitive deficits (e.g. active seizure disorder, stroke, vascular dementia).

Presence of current substance abuse or substance dependence.

Presence of a significant systemic medical illness (e.g. significant cardiovascular, hematologic, renal, or hepatic disease).

Presence of current medication likely to affect sleep outcomes: benzodiazepine receptor agonists (e.g. Zolpidem), Suvorexant, sedating antipsychotics (e.g. Quetiapine), sedating antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl), low dose sedating antidepressants (e.g. Trazodone, Doxepin), over the counter sleep-inducing medications (e.g. Tylenol-PM), neuroleptics in the phenothiazine and haloperidol families) which 1) the potential participant is not able/willing to stop taking for 1- week prior and for the 6-week duration of the study and/or 2) if removed could have a persistent effect beyond the 1-week wash-out period.

Presence of insulin-dependent diabetes.

History of mental retardation.

Unable to communicate in English.


  • UCSF accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94158 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Thomas Neylan, MD
    Dr. Neylan is a Professor, In Residence in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the Director of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) Clinic and the Stress and Health Research Program at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Phase 4 Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Research Study
Study Type
Expecting 60 study participants
Last Updated