Sleep drug 'takes different approach to combating insomnia'

29 November 2012

A new drug offers a different approach to treating insomnia and could finally bring some rest to people with the condition, scientists have said.

The drug, called suvorexant, blocks chemical messengers in the brain known as orexins, which regulate wakefulness, according to a paper published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers found that the medication increased the amount of time that people spent asleep during the night.

Participants, who had insomnia that was not linked to another condition, took either the drug or the placebo for four weeks and then switched to the other treatment for a further four weeks, with the scientists monitoring their sleep efficiency.

The sleep efficiency regarded the total amount of time they spent during a fixed period of eight hours in bed, which improved by five to 13 per cent compared to those participants taking a placebo.

Study author W Joseph Herring commented: "This study provides evidence that suvorexant may offer a successful alternative strategy for treating insomnia.

"Suvorexant was generally well-tolerated, and there were no serious side effects."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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