Nursing home residents may be using the drugs oxytocin and vasopressin to help relieve boredom, a new study has found.
The study, led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that a simple infusion of these drugs could help patients who struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, a disorder in which symptoms include fatigue, sleep apnea, and difficulty falling asleep.
The research, which was published in the journal Neuroendocrinology, also found that the compounds could improve sleep.
“The results show that administering oxytocins and vasomotor stimulants to nursing home residents and residents of other settings may offer some benefit to patients who are otherwise suffering from fatigue,” the study’s lead author, Dr. James C. Linnen, a professor of psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill, said in a statement.
“It is important to note that these compounds do not have the same effect as a pill or infusion.
These medications are meant to treat a specific condition, and if you are currently using a pill, the effects are not expected to last for long.”
While these treatments are not typically used in people with fatigue, they could help with chronic pain and depression.
For example, a drug known as riluzole is used to treat multiple sclerosis and has been shown to improve patients’ sleep.
Linsen noted that it was unclear whether the compounds in the study actually helped patients who were already using drugs to improve their sleep.
But he said it could be a good strategy for patients who struggled with chronic symptoms.
“Given the number of people who have been using opioids, I think it’s reasonable to suggest that it’s possible that these molecules might be useful for people with chronic illness, if they’re also working on a broader improvement of sleep,” Linson said.
The findings were published in Neuroendocrine.com.
This article originally appeared on Health.com