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Potential Drug could Help Patients with Insomnia

Potential Drug could Help Patients with Insomnia

(epharmanews)- Researchers presented, at SLEEP 2012, a potential new class of sleep medicines that target and block the chemical messengers in the brain that help keep people awake, with new pivotal efficacy trials.

Insomnia can be both a sign and a symptom for a variety of medical or mental disorders. It can also be a side effect of some drugs. Statistics say that 58% of the adults in the US have experienced insomnia for a few nights a week. Insomnia is also a common seen in women.

According to Merck, the global healthcare company investigating suvorexant as a treatment for insomnia, suvorexant significantly reduced the time it took patients to fall asleep and increased the time that patients stayed asleep as early as the first night and at the three-month time point compared to placebo.

Suvorexant targets and blocks orexins, the chemical messengers that originate from the hypothalamus (an important sleep center in the brain) that help keep people awake. By blocking the actions of orexins, suvorexant helps to facilitate sleep. The Phase III efficacy trials for suvorexant is one of the longest continuously dosed, placebo-controlled trials of a sleep medication ever conducted.

Earlier studies tied lack of sleep to diseases, strokes and high death risks in those who sleep for less than 6 hours a day. Death rates are 15% higher in severe insomnia cases, i.e. in people who sleep for less than three and a half hours (for females) or four and a half hours (for males).

Researchers said suvorexant targets insomnia in a way that is different from other medicines. They said the potential for a new and different option would be welcome by patients with insomnia who cannot sleep through the night.

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Prepared by: Abdullatief Janat

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