The time Anna stayed up all night
Almost precisely a decade ago, a young Atlanta lawyer named Anna was returning to work, after being treated for an extraordinary sleep disorder. Her story has been told here at Emory and by national media outlets.
Neurologist David Rye and nurse practitioner Kathy Parker had treated Anna first with conventional stimulants, which were spectacularly unsatisfactory. Parker and Rye eventually landed on something less conventional: flumazenil, an antidote for sedatives that was scarce and difficult to administer. After wrangling with the FDA and with flumazenil’s manufacturer, a longer-term solution came into view. At that time, Anna was unique: the only person taking flumazenil chronically for a sleep disorder.
Then she developed bronchitis. To treat her bronchitis, Anna’s internist had prescribed the antibiotic clarithromycin, known commercially as Biaxin. After taking it, she developed insomnia and couldn’t sleep for three days.