Two meds could treat sleep loss and insomnia effectively, study finds

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

In a recent study, scientists from Oxford University found two drugs, eszopiclone, and lemborexant—both not currently licensed for the treatment of insomnia in the UK—were shown to perform better than others, both in the short-term and long-term treatment of insomnia.

Insomnia is defined as dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality and is linked to at least three months of difficulty getting to or staying asleep.

It affects up to 20% of the population and for a high proportion of these people, it can last for a number of years.

In the study, researchers reviewed 154 clinical trials including 44,000 people assigned to one of 30 licensed or not licensed drugs, or placebo.

They sought to estimate the effectiveness of short-term and long-term treatments for insomnia disorder, where the condition is not accompanied by a mental health co-morbidity, such as depression or physical illness.

These people were assessed on their quality of sleep, the effects of treatment discontinuation, and the presence of any adverse events, such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache, sedation, and somnolence (feeling drowsy).

The team says the study shows that some of these drugs can also be effective, and should be used in clinical practice, when appropriate.

For example, where treatments such as improved sleep hygiene and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have not worked, or where a patient wants to consider taking medication as part of their treatment.

Although the study identified that eszopiclone could be effective as a treatment for insomnia, it may also cause substantial adverse events, such as dizziness and nausea, and safety data on lemborexant were inconclusive.

Other findings suggest that there was insufficient evidence to support the prescription of benzodiazepines and zolpidem in the long-term treatment for insomnia.

The team says that it should also be noted that the drug lemborexant acted via a different pathway in the brain (the orexin neurotransmitter system), a relatively novel mechanism of action.

More selective targeting of this pathway and orexin receptors could lead to better pharmacological treatments for insomnia.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about the science on 3 traditional bedtime remedies, and this sleep supplement may help prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that eating too much sugar may make you mental problems, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

The research was published in The Lancet and conducted by Professor Andrea Cipriani et al.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.