Seems like everyone is having difficulty falling asleep these days, so a new medication to help with that is always good news. The newest one is called Suvorexant.
It’s called that because it targets the orexin system, a part of the brain that promotes wakefulness.This is the part of the brain that’s missing or damaged in people who have narcolepsy – a condition that causes people to suddenly fall asleep randomly whether they want to or not.
Suvorexant is not a depressant drug or a general sedating one – it just focuses on blocking the wake centers of the brain. That will make it a potentially good option for people with sleep apnea.
The new study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies and the results were exciting enough to keep the attendees awake. After first treating a small group of patients for 4 weeks to prove the medication was safe, the investigators used two doses in two different trials.
The first used 40 mg for patients 18 -64 and 30 mg for older patients. The second used 20 mg for patients 18 – 64 and 15 mg for older patients. Patients who got the 40 mg dose fell asleep on average 25 minutes quicker and stayed asleep an hour longer.
The patients were able to tolerate the new medication well and only 10% felt drowsy or sleep the next day. This could be a great new medication for the 70 million adults coping with insomnia in the United States. And the fact that the patients both went to sleep sooner and stayed asleep longer is really good news. It’s likely we’ll be hearing more about this sleep mediation.