Belsomra is a new sleeping pill and insomnia sufferers are wondering whether to take it or notBelsomra, Merck’s new sleeping pill, is now the hottest topic on this blog. Insomnia sufferers who write in with comments are wondering about dosage, effectiveness, side effects, and how it compares with other sleeping pills.

Reviews of Belsomra, or suvorexant, have been lukewarm so far. Since I haven’t tried it myself, I can’t weigh in based on personal experience. But my search for information turned up more than I shared in my blog last August. Here’s a bit of context and more details.

How to Put the Brain to Sleep

There are two ways to induce sleep chemically: by (1) facilitating the action of neurons that promote sleep and (2) deactivating neurons associated with arousal. Z-drugs like zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta) do the former. They enhance the ability of GABA neurons to shut the brain down.

Belsomra, on the other hand, works by disabling the orexin neurons that fire continuously when we’re awake. These orexin neurons—70,000 in all–reside in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. They’re connected to GABA neurons there, and when the orexin neurons are firing, they hold GABA neurons in check.

Mice that lack orexin neurons are constantly falling asleep. In mice that have orexin neurons, temporarily disabling the neurons also puts the mice to sleep. Blocking the action of the orexins in humans should have a similar effect.

Why Shouldn’t We Stick with Drugs That Act on GABA?

The problem with these drugs is that in some users they have negative side effects: sleep walking, sleep eating, and sleep driving, not to mention interfering with memory formation and possibly increasing mortality. For several years the z-drugs were touted as safe for long-term use, but post-marketing tests have given rise to skepticism among some healthcare providers.

Besides, although sleep scientists are still unclear about the causes of insomnia, the prevailing theory is not that insomnia is the result of a flawed sleep system but rather that it stems from excessive arousal, which is conditioned and/or genetically predisposed. The word often used to describe our predicament is hyperarousal. So it makes sense drug developers are working on insomnia drugs that will tamp the arousal down.

Safety and Efficacy of Belsomra

The safety and efficacy of the drug apparently depend on the dose. The FDA approved Belsomra in doses of 5, 10, 15, and 20 mg based on the results of 3 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that showed it to be better than placebo at putting subjects to sleep and keeping them asleep.

Merck also conducted a one-year safety study in which investigators also looked at the efficacy of 30 and 40 mg of the drug. By the end of the first month, patients taking suvorexant were falling asleep 10 minutes faster than patients taking a placebo and sleeping about 23 minutes longer.

But the main purpose of this study was to assess the drug’s safety. In this respect, suvorexant performed well enough. Subjects who took suvorexant maintained their sleep improvements throughout the year. When they stopped taking the drug at the end of the study, they experienced no more rebound insomnia or withdrawal symptoms than the placebo group. This suggests the drug’s potential to foster the build-up of tolerance and dependency is low.

The one prominent safety issue that did come up was daytime grogginess, unsurprising in a drug whose half-life is about 12 hours. Of the patients on Belsomra, 13 percent experienced next-day sleepiness, sometimes severe, compared to 3 percent on placebo. In studies where patients were taking lower doses of Belsomra—15 and 20 mg—fewer patients experienced next-day sleepiness (7 percent vs. 3 percent on placebo).

The tradeoff, though, was reduced efficacy, especially in doses under 20 mg. Subjects who took a 10-mg dose did not get to sleep significantly sooner than patients on placebo (although they did sleep about 22 minutes longer). So it looks like business as usual here: higher doses are more efficacious but they may also leave you feeling groggy and impair your driving ability the next day.

How Does Belsomra Compare with Other Sleeping Pills?

Merck did not conduct any toe-to-toe comparison studies. The FDA does not require that new drugs be tested against existing drugs. Comparison studies, if they’re done at all, are typically conducted after a new drug comes out.

But results of a Phase-2 study showed that in healthy subjects, suvorexant altered the overall electrical activity in the brain less than 3 other medications—gaboxadol, zolpidem, and trazodone–used for sleep. These findings, say investigators, suggest that drugs like suvorexant “might lead to improvements in sleep without major changes in the patient’s neurophysiology as assessed by electroencephalography.”

Orexin Drugs Coming Our Way in the Future

Our bodies actually produce 2 different orexin neuropeptides and have 2 different orexin receptors. Belsomra is a “dual orexin receptor antagonist,” or DORA. It promotes sleep by blocking both orexins from binding to their receptors.

In the laboratory, writes Cormac Sheridan in the October 2014 issue of Nature Biotechnology, Belsomra over time shows a greater binding affinity for the orexin-1 receptor. Yet animal knockout studies suggest that of the 2 receptors, the orexin-2 receptor may actually be more important to sleep regulation. So the activity profile of Belsomra may not be ideal.

At least 2 drug companies–GlaxoSmithKline and Minerva Neurosciences—have orexin receptor antagonists in the works. Drugs that more strongly target the orexin-2 receptors may prove to be more effective as hypnotics than Belsomra. The race is on to see.

If you have tried Belsomra, what do you think of it?

 

Posted by Lois Maharg, The Savvy Insomniac

Lois Maharg is an author and journalist.She began her career as a teacher, capped off when she authored a pair of ESL textbooks with her husband. She then became a journalist, working both freelance and as a staff reporter and features writer. She has written about Latino affairs, education, government, health, social issues, exercise, and food. While reporting in Pennsylvania, she won a Keystone Press Award and awards from the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. Her stories have been picked up by the Associated Press.

100 Comments

  1. sheila farrell March 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Two weeks on belsomra. First few days tried 10 MG woth 5 MG ambien. Been on ambien about 6 years. Then I cut the am in cold turkey. I went up to 20 MG and am now 30 mg. I have said for about 30 years that someday they would figure out how to slow my too busy brain down. I was a patient a the ‘father’ of insomnia And he had the first sleep clinic in Spokane. I have a sister who was a director of a major sleep study program in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I used to go do Sleep studies when she needed volunteers for new equipment or centers. I have had centers recommend putting me in a coma or try the date rape drug. So… I am liking Belsomra. I find it takes some work on my part. No more few more pages, it is transient and I have to grab that sleep feeling. I am using my sleep meditation tapes. I have not had one side effect.

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    1. If you don’t read all of this post, please read the last paragraph! I have taken Ambien 10mg for about 10 years but it was losing its ability to put and keep me asleep. I heard about Belsomra last summer and picked up some free samples from my doctor. A side comment: I read that Merck spent more advertising Belsomra between Aug and Oct 2015 than any other drug in history!
      Although it is very expensive, I did find a discount card which decreased my out of pocket expense for about $30/mo. I started taking 20mg in August and stopped last night to switch to Ambien CR 12.5mg. Other than the cost and my experience that it doesn’t work any better than Ambien, I have one very important reason to not take it and the main reason for this post.
      There is very serious side effect that I experienced on 3 separate occasions. It is called “Sleep Paralysis”. The best way I can describe this is that you are sort of awake but your entire body is paralyzed including your ability to speak. It took everything I had to get out a word or two so my wife could shake me out of it. The most horrifying thing I have ever experienced! Although not a common side effect it is a serious one. My doctor says she has seen a rash of this since prescribing it over the past months. Please be careful!

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      1. Thanks, Sam, for writing in to share your experience of this uncommon but distressing side effect.

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      2. I tried Belsomra from samples 10 mg and it did 0 to put me to sleep. It did give me a headache upon waking that Tylenol couldnt relieve. My insurance wont pay for this. So Im on Ativan 21/2mg per night. If Belsomra was paid I wouldnt use it after that headache all day! I was on Lunesta 5 yrs and last year got taste of tin in mouth and I sleep 10 pm nightly & Lunesta was waking me up 2am nightly. Dr made me stop it after 5 yrs.

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      3. How long have you been taking 2.5 mg of Ativan? Doesn’t it lose efficacy and you have to keep increasing?

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      4. Wow, that sleep paralysis happened to me last night. Good to know I am not alone and I think I will discontinue and get my Ambien back as well.

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      5. I have experienced sleep paralysis quite a few times. At first it really is scary. For me it was when I tried to take a nap in the middle of the day. It felt like an eternity. Its like your body and head are totally disconnected. When I researched it I found that some people actually try to experience it. No thank you!

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      6. Not trying this!

        I have extreme sleep apnea. It is sometimes absolutely life threatening to get awake!

        I’ve noticed that the manufacturer’s documentation states that this drug was not evaluated among those with severe sleep apnea – I can’t imagine why???

        My suggestion is that if you have sleep apnea (especially if it is extreme), you want to have a frank discussion with your doctor before using this medication. Being frozen for *several minutes* as described as a side effect for this medication could be deadly for those of us with sleep apnea.

        No thanks!

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      7. Whoa I have been using 10mg Ambien for 20mos, tapered to 5mg and it works great but I was concerned about LT use. So my Doc gave me Belsomra to try. Boy I did not have a good experience. Both nights I had the feeling I was awake all night, but upon getting up I knew I must have been asleep because the dreams were too unusual and scary to be thoughts. It felt like my head was strapped to the bed (couldn’t move it), my body wasn’t around and I had nightmares. I usually have frustration dreams but those 2 nights of full-on nightmares when I couldn’t wake myself were torture. It felt like I was watching nightmares happen to myself. Ambien the next nights returned me back to sleep. Insomnia has always felt like hyper arousal to me, I don’t think it’s a phase, I feel like it’s the way I’m built.

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      8. Shiobhvan Loggins May 28, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        Yes. My brain is hypearoused ad my brain races and I can’t turn it off

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      9. I am the same. My brain just will not shut up at night! My dr put me on Belsomra after about 5 years on Ambien. He wanted to take me off of it due to my chronic fatigue syndrome. He thought it was building up in my system. I do notice the fatigue is much better now. The Belsomra worked for about 3 weeks. Last night and the night before I feel like I didn’t get any sleep but don’t feel like it in the morning. After reading your comment I wonder if I did actually get sleep but feeling like I was awake was maybe a dream? Strange! Oh, I have had severe insomnia for close to 10 years now. I am so sick of it. I just want to sleep!😦

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      10. I can relate,Just came off amiben,which was working well,I was sleeping , but insurance would only pay for a few months , theyes said studies showed amiben caused elderly to fall more,dr.prescribed belsomra,I am not sleeping ,.

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      11. where did u get the $30 discount card?

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  2. Thanks, Sheila, for sharing your experience of this new drug. It sounds like finding a way to get the sleep you need has really been a trial for you. So I’m glad to hear that Belsomra seems to be working out.

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  3. I just started Belsomra last night n with one sequel 25mg I fell asleep fast but woke up many times n only got about 6 hours n not straight thru. Does this medication take time (days) to really work or is it not going to work for me? I’ve had insomnia for 20 some years almost 30 after years n years on each drug they didn’t work anymore n even made me ill… I’ve been waiting for this medication for so long but it doesn’t seem good enough for me.

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    1. Hi Sharon,
      This is not the type of medication that will take days to work. But if I were you, I’d try it a few more nights before making a decision one way or the other.

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  4. James R. Wells May 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Due to a 10 disc spine fusion, I have been on Ambien CR for years and it was losing its effectiveness. I have tried Belsomra for 8 days and it simply does not work well for me. I had one night that it seemed to work fairly well, but with the other 7, I was awake many times during the night. I also seem to be experiencing withdrawal from the Ambien.

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    1. Hello James,

      Thanks for writing in to share your experience with this new drug. I’m sorry it hasn’t worked for you. If it’s pain connected to the spinal fusion that’s keeping you up at night, I’d encourage you first to talk with a neurologist about better ways to manage the pain. If your trouble sleeping is attributable to other factors, then talking with a sleep specialist may help. Other drugs besides Ambien are prescribed for people with insomnia, and there are drug-free ways to improve sleep, too (cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia [CBT-I]). I’ve reviewed CBT-I and many sleeping pills in other blogs.

      Good luck in finding a solution that works for you.

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  5. I’ve suffered from insomnia basically since I hit puberty, and so do all the other females in my family excepting my younger sister, lucky her. My doctor has been prescribing the ten day trials for me which started with a pack of 10mg pills, then the 15mg, and now the 20mg. I’d been in kind of a sleep crisis, the details of which I’d rather not explain. My first night on the 10mg pills, I could tell it wanted to work, it really did want to… I think after laying in bed for an hour and a half, I DID get to sleep. It was not very restful, but the three or four hours I got were better than what I’d been getting, and I was happy that I could tell it was trying to work.
    Each time my doc has bumped me up, I’ve gotten a little more sleep per night, and with the 20mg dose, I get aaaaalmost eight hours, which is fantastic. That’s great. I still don’t ever end up meeting my alarm clock, but I get pretty damn close.
    What I like is that it is -not- like ambien, despite the side effect warnings. I don’t feel like I’m being knocked out and it doesn’t -make- me go to sleep, it just makes the option available to me. I fall asleep relatively fast, within 20 minutes.
    I wake up less throughout the night as well, though it hasn’t completely ended that phenomenon. That’s fine; again, it’s a vast improvement. I’d like the perfect sleep drug, but no one should ever expect that.
    I don’t end up feeling groggy in the morning, which is lucky. Other things make me feel that way and I hate it. I don’t know how I lucked out of that one.

    What I like most about it is that I don’t feel drugged, I don’t feel like my mind is altered at all. I like that it leaves my GABA system completely alone, which, in my opinion, is the selling point for this drug. Fantastic. Fuck all that GABA noise.

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    1. Hi Molly,

      Thanks for writing in to share your experiences with Belsomra. I’m glad that once the dose was adjusted, it’s working pretty well for you now.

      Several comments on another blog I wrote about insomnia (https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/mercks-new-sleeping-pill-to-come-out-soon/) are from people who tried Belsomra but were dissatisfied with the results. It’s nice to know it’s working for some people.

      I’m not surprised, though, that a sleeping pills that helps some people is useless to others. The causes of insomnia are many, so it’s unlikely that there could ever be a one-size-fits-all cure.

      Again, thanks for writing in.

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      1. Lois, I’ve been reading that Merck wanted to have the doses range up to 40mg per night, but that they weren’t allowed to by the FDA. I’ve also read about how the drug is more available in women than men, and more available in obese women than in normal women. I barely fit into the obese category, but I -am- there (almost out though! :)); perhaps that’s why the maximum dose is actually working for me.
        Based on my experience and the experiences I’ve read of others, I think the FDA’s fears are totally unwarranted, but I suppose it’s best to err on the side of caution when you introduce the first of a brand new type of drug. I guess stories of experiences are only anecdotal, anyway.

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      2. Hi Molly,

        You’re right, Merck did apply for approval of doses all the way up to 40 mg. The higher doses led to morning drowsiness in some users, though. So the FDA did exactly what you said: decided it was better to err on the side of caution than approve Belsomra in doses that might be unsafe in a significant number of people.

        Regarding new sleeping pills, I think the FDA is in a conservative mode these days. The Z-drugs (zolpidem [Ambien], eszopiclone [Lunesta]) were thought to be quite safe when they first came out. Only after they’d been on the market for several years did some of the rarer adverse effects (sleep walking, sleep eating, sleep driving, and so forth) start coming out. Better safe than sorry seems to be the prevailing attitude about sleeping pills today.

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      3. doc gave me 20 mg trial pack, chronic insomnia and ambien tolerance built up. this Belsomra is UseLess! Benadryl works better for making me sleepy. pitiful failure of a drug!

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  6. Nick K Wagenfeiler May 29, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I’m a 75 year old male, in good health but have been struggling with insomnia for 20 years.
    I started with Restoril, and when it stopped working, I was put on Ativan. When it stopped working a year later, I was in limbo. I was prescribed anti-psychotics such as Seroquel and others but they didn’t work either.
    For the last 3 years I was taking 30mg Restoril and 25mg Trazodone with fairly good results.
    I saw TV ads for Belsomra and got the free 10 pill sample. The 10mg dose did not seem to work but when increased the dosage to 20mg, I got several hours of sleep and had the urge to get up at 1AM in the morning. The second 20mg dose, the next evening, allowed me to sleep till 1AM and then I took 30mg Restoril and slept really well.
    I bought my 30 day supply (20mg) three days ago and the first night it worked till about 1AM and did not sleep for the rest of the morning but stayed in bed. I felt lousy all day long. The second night, again, it worked till about 1AM and then took 30mg Restoril and slept till 6AM and, again, felt great and energetic. Last night, the 20mg Belsomra did not work at all and was still awake 11PM, then I took 30mg Restoril and it too did not work!
    I’m going to try the Belsomra for another night or maybe two but I’m not optimistic. I have taken Ambien and Lunesta with the same kind of results. They work for a couple of nights and then nothing.

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    1. Hello Nick,

      I’m sure it’s terribly frustrating to have tried so many sleeping pills only to find that none seem to help. If you haven’t yet seen a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine, I think you should. Having a sleep study would also be a good idea. The fact that you’ve struck out with so many medications makes me wonder if your sleep problem has been diagnosed correctly.

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      1. Nick K Wagenfeiler June 1, 2015 at 7:37 am

        Thanks for the reply, Lois. I had a sleep study done several years ago. The results were inconclusive and showed slight Restless Leg Syndrome, however it was so cold in that room and I kept rubbing my feet together. The sensors must have picked up that movement. The study was recommended by a Sleep Doctor, who was also a physiatrist, and a therapist, and saw them for two years without any results.
        Last night, I took 20mg Belsomra and waited for about 2 hours for it to kick in but it didn’t. I got up at 1AM and did not sleep for the rest of the morning.
        I was very optimistic about Belsomra because it is being marketed as being different then the other drugs on the market. It seems to be the same as the rest of the stuff!

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    2. Belsomra is not keeping me a sleep, even at the 20 mg dose. I have added Baclofen helped initially but now I am back to the I need to move phase of body discomfort. I too wake up about 2 -3 hours after I go to sleep regardless of med Lunesta, Ambien, or Belsomra1

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    3. Amitriptyline is the best

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      1. Dr. overdose me on amitriptyline… I had complete total amnesia for 3 weeks. Did know my name, the year or my own house.

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      2. You mean you did NOT know your name? Do people read what they type? Or are you half asleep?

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    4. Some of you people with ongoing insomnia could have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea does not present the same symptoms in all people. I have it and my worst complaint was chronic insomnia and fragmented sleep, vivid dreams. Seldom felt, sleep, freqently felt tired and wired. As it went untreated, I got numbness in my arms and legs, restless legs, and sleep starts such as jerking or snorting awake. Sometimes when I got more sleep,(like from taking a benzo), I still didn’t feel refreshed. I snored but had no idea until somebody else told me that my breathing sounded labored and sometimes I snored loud. Get a sleep study.

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      1. I too had a sleep study done and it turns out I have severe sleep apnea. I would get the restless legs and wake up every another hour. I felt so tired during the day and if left alone sitting down at work or at school I would start dosing off. Once I got my cpap machine I nearly cried, I had 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I woke up so refreshed and alert the next day it was amazing! I was so rested that the next night I went to bed later than usual because I just didn’t feel sleepy. So my recommendation is try to find out if you suffer from sleep apnea if you are that cpap machine will work wonders.

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      2. Thanks, Geo, for the reminder that what LOOKS like insomnia may in fact be something else. People who find themselves so sleepy that they nod off regularly during the daytime should indeed consult a doctor and have a sleep study done. Sleep apnea is a serious problem, and it’s very risky to ignore it.

        I’m glad the CPAP machine is working so well for you. There are also other ways of treating sleep apnea for those who dislike the idea of using a CPAP machine.

        Thanks for writing in.

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      3. My husband says I don’t snore. I have congestion from chronic allergies. I can’t afford shots for 3 years. I couldn’t sleep on my back, so no CPAP machine. I’m not fat. I just can’t shut my brain up.

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    5. same thing here…waking up at 1am and cannot get back to sleep. I have been on every med there is….nothing works. Prosom and remeron together sometimes works but the remeron causes significant weight gain due to night eating. So mad I spent 60 bucks on this!

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  7. Gerard Klunek July 24, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I have been an insomniac since age 12. I have tried every sleep aid available– nothing works. I would like to try this medication were it not so prohibitively expensive. Does Merck have any type of assistance program or sample offer for say two weeks. I never sleep more than two hours no matter how active I am but to remain awake for four and five days without a minute of sleep is ruining my life. Also, I had a gastric bypass RNGB fifteen years ago so many medications that work for others do not work for me– the surgeon(s) remove the duodenum- duodenal switch– that produces acids, proteins and enzymes necessary for the proper transport to the neurotransmitters. Medicines that should remain in the body (extended release meds) are useless– they may work but the duration of efficacy is short and are excreted quickly

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    1. Hello Gerard,

      Your sleep problem certainly sounds severe. Have you ever undergone a sleep study? Based on what you’ve said here, it sounds like you might well be a candidate.

      Merck does have an assistance program, and here’s the URL: http://www.merckhelps.com/BELSOMRA

      Good luck in finding the help you need.

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      1. I encourage everyone to get a sleep tracking device ie..watch or something to make sure your not getting any sleep. I just started taking 20 mg and thought I didn’t sleep at all. But when I checked my watch, it said I slept for 6 hours but was very restless.

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      2. Ramona; Sleep apnea causes restless sleep among many other possible symptoms, especially when it’s left untreated. It’s a breathing disorder that can only be diagnosed in a sleep clinic overnight study. I was diagnosed with it earlier this year and c-pap is starting to help me get more sleep. The improvement is gradual. Sleep apnea is dangerous to your health if left untreated.

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  8. I have not slept in four weeks come Monday. When I mean no sleep, I mean ZERO. I have been to the Dr twice now as I cannot now work and am afraid of losing my job. I have a very complex medical history, PE, two small strokes, Mast Cell Activation Disorder, POTs, Dysautonomia and a few more. I have been on Ambien CR for awhile with no issues at all. Now, everything has stopped working I have tried OTC’s with no results. I have tried XANAX, Ativan, Kolonopim, before bed and during bed, nothing. I tried starting biofeedback today and will tonight. I see the time, every precious minute as my wife sleeps and snores a it. I NEVER had this issue. I bring this up as this is extreme Insomnia. I feel like Michael Jackson and crave for sleep. I have this Belsomra but I do not believe it will work. I feel as if there is a switch in my head that is not turning off. I have done all the mental games and still nothing. I’m now terrified of the night regardless of how positive I try to be. Please pray for me. Larry

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    1. Hello Larry,

      Yes, from your description it sounds like your insomnia is quite severe. You mention going to a doctor. Maybe this doctor is a sleep specialist. If not, you should locate one and make an appointment right away. You don’t mention a sleep study. My guess is that a specialist would order one for you as a way to find out what’s going on in your brain at night. Then the doctor would have a better idea of how to treat you.

      I have no idea what your diagnosis might be. But some people have a type of insomnia called “paradoxical insomnia.” They perceive themselves to be awake all night. In fact there is wake-like activity occurring in a few key parts of the brain. But the rest of the brain is sleeping. Here’s a blog I wrote about paradoxical insomnia which might interest you:

      https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/paradoxical-insomnia-what-it-is-how-its-treated/

      Good luck, Larry, in finding the help you need.

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    2. My heart goes out to you. I, also, suffer from relentless chronic insomnia for almost 40 years. The only sleep aid that ever helped me was Dalmane, but of course, doctors got scared of lawsuits, and I was switched to Ambien, which worked for a couple years, and now doesn’t work. I have tried everything else, from antidepressants to melatonin, sleep hygiene, counseling, you name it. Insomnia has destroyed my life. My husband has zero sleep problems and doesn’t have a clue what I am going through. I do think that this type of chronic insomnia comes from emotional trauma from which we have no opportunity to recover in our culture. There is seriously something pathological happening in our country that has resulted in so much relentless insomnia.
      It is almost 5 a.m. where I live, and again, I have not slept one minute, even with my Ambien dose, and my Valium dose, and my Vistaril dose.
      I have no solutions to offer, because I am a fellow sufferer.

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    3. Get zopiclon 7,5 mg take 2 and you sleep like a baby get on 1 within one week. It gets an elephant to sleep. Take care !

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      1. I take 4 zopiclone per night and have done for 16 years. Works great. But cannot take less.

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    4. Larry I will pray for you. I was an international flight attendant for 8 years and since I have resigned my sleep disorder is so severe there have been many times that I thought I was going to die because I would be up for days at a time without one wink of sleep. I feel your pain. The doctors tried over 50 different medications that only worked for a short while and then my condition often times would become worse. I have been so afraid off and on. Long life drugs seemed to have the worst residual effects. I am allergic to everything. I almost gave up on life and to make matters worse people were so hard on me because I had once been so successful. I did find a miracle for sleep. I had the opportunity to try medical Cannibus and I slept like a baby with no serious side effects. I got my life back. I am now saving money to move to a state where it is legal as I want to live with dignity. I hope you find sleep again. God bless.

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      1. Connie Lawrence Goggins April 14, 2016 at 5:57 am

        Your story is why is it CRIMIMAL that medical marijuana isn’t legal EVERYWHERE in the US. I have several medical issues that I believe could possibly be helped with marijuana, including insomnia, fibromyalgia and depression. But I haven’t tried it because it’s illegal and I wouldn’t know what to do long term if it actually helped. I do believe pot will be legal nation-wide eventually, but since I live in Alabama, we’ll probably be the next-to-last state to legalize weed. Thank God for Mississippi!

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      2. Connie; Don’t look at pot for an answer. I’ve seen comments from people who’ve used it for relief and they quickly developed a tolerance, meaning, they had to keep increasing the dose. No Thank You! Besides that, it can do long term damage to your memory. My brother (who smoked it when he was young) says it’s the devils drug. Hope you don’t go there.

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    5. I will pray for you. I see you posted this 8 mos ago. Hope you’ve gotten an overnight sleep study by now. If you have a breathing disorder such as sleep apnea, the pills can make it worse!

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    6. No sleep for Kate May 6, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Hi Larry I feel your pain I too have struggled with sleep my whole life since I was 7 years old I’ve had nothing but problems with sleep I don’t even remember sleeping good when I had my children Know I Was Pregnant that was the only time I could get some sleep because I was so big and tired that I was able to sleep because I carried big babies but anyway after that I have such problems with sleeping been on Ambien probably 10 years and now Everybody Wants to Rule and being the devil and I would go from 10 milligrams of 12.5 and back to 10 milligrams in the 12.5 wasn’t working and then the 10 would work stop working and I didn’t feel like it was my fault I did have to sleep studies where they tested Beyond machines and they said that my breathing and everything was pretty good I’m very claustrophobic so I would never wear a sleep apnea mask not even even to test me would be very difficult I’m at my ends I’m at the end of my rope because they talk too I just moved to Texas and the doctor wants to take me off Ambien and put me on Balsam they did that to me in New York and for 4 days I had no sleep at all and I told my concern but she just increase the dosage to 20 milligrams belsomra and I just have every night without sleep so I decided to take myself off of it and go back to the Ambien and see if I could find behavior modification I also joined the gym and it usually doesn’t matter how tired I am if I work I work with children all day long as physical at work I do exercise that usually doesn’t affect how I sleep because I still can’t sleep then when I take a Xanax to relax me after I have anxiety attacks about sleep then I take the Xanax and the Xanax makes me very very hard to get up and go to work in the morning so and I don’t want to be on benzos of any kind my doctor keeps telling me she’s going to give me less and less so please if there’s anybody out there that could help all right now last night I took my first day and be enough to be in on the bus so I’m off for a week with no results and I slept a little bit better with the 12.5 Ambien I think the only beneficial thing is to try to not take the Ambien one night out of the out of the 7 and then the neck and just replace it with something over the counter and then take it off two nights without it and replace it with to you know something over the counter and then try to take a lesson then we might have been worse sleep on those two nights that you just taking you know something over the counter which I’ve tried everything natural everything over the counter it doesn’t work for me but I’m willing to try it and maybe it’ll work for you too my prayers go out to you Larry

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  9. I was really excited to see Belsomra as it provided a different approach than the last 10 years of Ambien/Zolpiden. After discussing with my doctor who agreed I tried to get Belsomra but the $315.00 price tag for 30 10mg tabs was far beyond what I can afford and since I no longer have health care coverage I have no help. I hope this new drug does work for those who can afford it and that someday the price will come down.

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    1. Hi Ralph,

      The cost of brand-name drugs these days puts them out of reach for many people, sad to say. And according to Drugs.com, the patent on Belsomra will not expire until Nov. 20, 2029. So we’ll have to wait a long time for generics to come on the market.

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  10. I been an insomniac for a little over 3 years now. I’m 26 years old, tried every medication out there and nothing has worked at all. I’m currently taking Lunesta 3mg then I add and over the counter Unisom 50mg with it and on average I get 0-4 hours of sleep per day. Rather if it’s pulling an all nighter or waking up every other 30min. Last week I ended up pulling 4 all nighters and this week 3 all nighters so far. Worst feeling in the world is when you can’t sleep for days!!! My sleep specialist recommended and gave me samples of Belsomra 10,15 and 20mg. Last night I took the 10mg two and a half hours later was still wide awake and not sleeping, cut the 10mg in half and took half of one so I’m at 15mg.. 4 hours later still not asleep.. Took the other half of the 10mg so now I’m at 20mg and pulled an all nighter again it didn’t work for me at all! I didn’t feel tired or anything and kept tossing around hoping it would knock me out but it didn’t. I took a 20mg Belsomra 2.5 hours ago and it’s still not doing anything it almost makes me feel more awake like I’m wired with caffeine and I don’t drink caffeine at all. Sleep study next month – hoping they can figure this out so I can sleep like a normal person!!

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    1. Hi Rochelle,

      From what you say here, having a sleep study is the right next step. I hope it clarifies things in a way that enables your doctor to prescribe a treatment that works.

      Best of luck!

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  11. A few months ago, I tried 10 mg of Belsomra; and the first couple of nights I used it, it didn’t seem to have any effect, so I quit. Last week, my doctor suggested I try 20 mg. I first took that dose two night ago, and I couldn’t sleep at all. I’ve tried all the usual prescription sleep meds and have had many nights of being awake all night on all of them, so I know how it feels the next day. This time, however, I felt fine when the alarm went off. It made me wonder if I had been sleeping and dreaming that I was awake. I took it again last night with the same experience. I’ve read that it can cause nightmares. I wouldn’t call thinking I’m awake all night exactly a nightmare, but it isn’t pleasant. I will continue trying 20 mg and see what happens.

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    1. Hi Terry,

      I’m not sure how to make sense of these last couple nights when you took Belsomra, but the situation does sound somewhat encouraging. I haven’t seen nightmares listed as an adverse effect of the drug, but I have seen unusual or abnormal dreaming listed as a possible but rare side effect.

      It’s also possible for the human brain to be mostly asleep while at the same time taking in and even processing information (at a very low level) coming from the environment. Something like that may be happening to you. You may be interested in reading more about it:

      https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/paradoxical-insomnia-what-it-is-how-its-treated/

      Since you fared pretty well these last few nights, I think it’s a good idea to stay the course with the medication your doctor prescribed and see what happens.

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  12. Hello. I am a 35 year old male. I have had anxiety issues and panic attacks since I was 16. I have been on almost every benzo / SSRI / z-drug in an effort to combat my anxiety and insomnia. Here is what I have found out:

    I have successfully tapered Xanax down from 6mg to 3mg and will use 1mg of the 3 at bed time. I take 30mg of restoril at bed time. I’d be lucky if I got 3 hours of sleep (never leaving REM). My doctor put me on 20mg of Belsomra along with the 30mg of Restoril and I have been sleeping a solid 7-9 hours a night. Crazy dreams but I think this is a personal issue (there is a lot going on in my life).

    Anyways, those two in combination are more than effective for me. I am a very active person so adjusting my exercise routine around the goal of better sleep has helped as well (punishing myself with high intensity aerobic on days I get good sleep).

    Hope this helps someone.

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    1. Hi Michael,

      I’m glad to hear that in addition to the medications you’re taking, you’re making a point of getting plenty of exercise. I, too, find that physical activity really helps to calm me down when I’m feeling anxious and makes it easier to fall asleep. Thanks for writing in.

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  13. William Schrader August 26, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Been suffering from insomnia since 1998. The only thing that worked for me was Halcion. I have been taking it for 8 years now it seems not to be working. I started taking Doxepin with the Halcion to help me fall back asleep. Now neither help me fall back to sleep. Mainly I get 3 hours of sleep a night. My doctor gave me samples of Belsomra along with the halcion so I am going to try it tonight.

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  14. Anxious to try something new. Been on everything – suffered for over 25 yrs. used to self-medicate with alcohol. 10 yrs ago was diagnosed with a “unspecified mood disorder.” Now take 100mg Seroquel XR, and 3, 3mg of Klonopin nightly. Sometimes that works, lately not. Going to ask for Belsomra when I see Dr next week. Worse is no sleep but Klonopin hangover at 5AM when I have to get up for work. Looking into your hypothesis about over stimulated brain. Interesting… Love that I found this blog! Thank you!

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    1. Hi Gina,

      I’m glad you’re finding this blog useful and you’re certainly welcome for the information.

      It sounds like you’ve had trouble sleeping for quite a while and found some relief with medication. If you click on “Blog” at the top of any page on this website, you’ll find a “site search” box on the right side of the page. You can search for any topic that interests you, including “sleeping pills” and “hyperarousal.”

      You may also want to check into cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT—a drug-free way to manage insomnia. I, too, had insomnia for decades, and I was very skeptical that any type of talk therapy could improve my sleep. But, kicking and screaming, I eventually tried CBT. I was writing a book about insomnia (THE SAVVY INSOMNIAC) and figured I had to try every research-based treatment in order to write about it convincingly.

      To my surprise, CBT helped me—a lot. I document this whole process in my book, but here’s a short video and blog about it that you can access right away:

      https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/sleep-restriction-up-close-and-personal/

      Good luck whichever way or ways you go!

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    2. No sleep for Kate May 1, 2016 at 3:01 am

      Hi I’m a 52 year old woman who’s been on Ambien 10 milligrams and 12.5 back and forth for about 10 years have sleep problems and some a little girl 7 years old tribal some old ones send was on it for 3 days and when I didn’t get results the doctor thought it was dangerous for me to not stay on it but then move from New York to Texas where you treated as if you’re a drug addict if you have a sleep problem and they will give you the Ambien my doctor wants to switch me from Ambien to balsamo and I’m very scared because afraid of being paralyzed or laying awake for hours and hours but my doctor says to me you shouldn’t expect to be knocked out being knocked out is for drug addicts somebody out there please help

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  15. I developed insomnia 10 years ago at the age of 24 after a traumatic experience with my mothers death. Been on either ambien or lunesta ever since. I’ve tried multiple times to wean myself off to no avail (I get on night 3 or 4 with no sleep and have to go back to ambien) I tried belsomra 10 mg last night for the first time. It made my heart beat irregularly, and my chest feel tight. This kicked in about an hour after taking it, and lasted for about 2 hours until I got up and took some charcoal tabs to hopefully rid it from my system. I then took 2.5 mg ambien (in the form of edluar) and fell fast asleep. I slept all night so maybe the belsomra helped with that? I won’t be taking it again — the fast heart beat (which I could feel through my head on my pillow) induced some anxiety and though it did make me “sleepy” it didn’t put me to sleep.

    I have been successful with taking an L tryptophan pill combined with 5 mg ambien in the past. I just really want to get off the ambien so I wanted to try anything that could help me wean off it

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    1. Hi Meg,

      Yes, undergoing a traumatic experience—especially if it’s sustained trauma—can result in a person developing chronic insomnia. And I know how much of a drain persistent insomnia can be.

      Medications used to treat insomnia affect people differently, I’ve come to believe. Maybe this new one was responsible for the irregular heartbeat and tight chest. Then again, maybe it wasn’t having any effect on you and you became anxious. This, too, could affect your heartbeat and tightness in your chest.

      I’ve known others who have weaned themselves off Ambien—which it sounds like you’d like to do—by undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). (See my response to Gina above.) Some sleep therapists are quite willing to work with people using medication. CBT-I is equally effective and can lead to people stopping medication completely or using less medication than they did in the past. Here’s a blog I wrote on this topic:

      https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/qa-during-cbt-do-i-have-to-stop-my-sleep-meds/#.Vh-Pq6Rzqt8

      Best of luck.

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  16. I’ve been taking belsomra for a few months now. I like it. I don’t feel drugged like with ambien, it is more subtle. I have a routine of taking it then taking a shower and crawling into bed with a book. I doze off pretty soon after. It feels like a melatonin induced sleep.

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    1. Hi Mariela,

      I’m glad this new sleeping pill is working for you. A drug that doesn’t make you feel drugged—that sounds pretty good to me!

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  17. Worst nightmares ever, woke up earlier than normal having a full on panic attack. Too afraid to give it another go.

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  18. I have severe RLS so have been on some type of benz for most of my life and had always thought the RLS was the reason for my sleep issues until I started taking Repinerol for my legs (amazing results) but was STILL not sleeping. Started taking 20mg of the Belsomra and it has worked REALLY well. I don’t necessarily fall asleep faster but when I do sleep, it’s quality sleep. I’m waking up before my alarm for the first time in years. I also do not feel drugged or sleepy the next day. My Dr. told me to take melatonin in conjunction with the belsomra to ‘up’ the effects, which I’ve done. I’m also on 2mg of Xanax that I take at bedtime. I’d like to wean off that but am worried that the combo of the Xanex/Belsomra might be why I’m sleeping well.

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    1. Apologies for my tardy response here. It sounds like you’re taking several drugs, and some you may not need. If I were you, I’d have a talk with the doctor about how to wean myself off the Xanax gradually. If the Belsomra has helped so much with your sleep, it may be all you need.

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  19. Just started taking about a week ago. Received the 10 tab (15 mg) trial pack. Doc recommended that I start out taking half pills and then graduate to the full pill. I do get drowsy and fall asleep on just half a pill, but have the WORST nightmares I have ever had!! Woke up in a full out panic attack. I did move up to the 15 mg tab for one night and it left me so groggy the next day that all I wanted to do was sleep.
    Will not be taking this med anymore. Will just take my Melatonin 10 mg.

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  20. I am a happy Belsomra user even though I don’t like the price.
    Belsomra might take days to work.
    If it is for you, you should know by day 4 or 5.
    Once your body starts calming down, you might need to cut back.
    If you become overly groggy or lagging in the day you might look and see if any thing else you are taking influences your CYP(450) 3A4 path. That is the path it is metabolized from your body. DIM can be an issue for some people. If you are not sleeping all night something you are taking may accelerate your CYP3A4 also.
    Once you are sleeping well you can also try skipping a day or two until you feel restless again. Of course they say to keep on it steady, but for me I find it hard to tell when I am to dopey. So waiting until I need it works well.
    The first week was really hard since instructions say to use NO OTHER sleeping aids.
    Give it a good week. Be prepared : I would not drive for that first week either. Let someone else do that.

    If it is right for you , like it is for me , you will again be sleeping great. I have had sleep issues for over 35 years: I don’t now.
    I do find that I can some times take a small fraction of a pill and I sleep just as well, but some days I need more.
    Again, if you have been really sleep deprived for a long time, your body is tired :So, once you start, trudge through the beginning. Be ready to make modifications . Be careful with cars and machinery for a while.

    After a week you might try a light dose of melatonin sublingual if you have trouble on the falling to sleep part.
    Belsomra keeps me asleep all night !!!

    I am so happy this had come on the market – nothing else worked at all for me.

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    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for sharing the details of your experience with this new drug.

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  21. I haven’t taken Belsomra,but here I’m talking about Almorexant, a drug similar to Suvorexant that was being developed by Actelion which has now halted progressing for some undisclosed reason, claimes in the Wikipedia By Ronald Czarnecki , the following lines are from Wikipedia, quote unquote:
    “Those in the know are forecasting a sweep of the gold for the Swiss pharmaceutical company Actelion in the coming 2012 Olympics of Sleep. Their candidate, Almorexant, has been in serious training since his discovery in 1998. He is expected to take gold medals in all of the following events:
    • Prescription for Insomnia
    • Enhancer for Dreams
    • Catalyst for Memory
    • Stimulant for Creativity
    • Accelerant for Performance
    • Depressant for Obesity
    No single country, nor any sleep medication currently available has come close to winning in all categories. Most have left participants sluggish, depressed, agitated, confused, and complaining of muscle aches during the day.
    Almorexant, already in Phase III testing and development, will probably take home the gold in the competition for sleep in 2012.” My curiosity here is that being similar to Almorexant, does Suvorexant has the same multi-faceted benefits as Almorexant claims?

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    1. Hi Razen,

      I wouldn’t believe anyone who made those claims about any medication. I’ve laid out the benefits and risks of Belsomra as I know them in the blog post above.

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  22. I concider this drug to be very dangerous.
    It was prescribed to my husband, who has suffered from insomnia for decades. He is on other meds for bi polar disorder. When I research for drug inter actions, I can’t find any data because it’s to new. My husband suffers from depression and I can see a change for the worse..
    2 wks ago , he lost the use of his legs for close to 6 hours..
    I finally convinced him to stop using it.
    The medical field tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about. .Ok…
    Just one families terrific experience.

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    1. Hi Kelly,

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s experience with Belsomra. This medicine is so new that it’s probably hard to know exactly how it’s going to affect each and every person. But especially because your husband is taking other drugs, it’s important to get guidance from a health professional who’s really knowledgeable about mind meds and drug-drug interactions.

      Thanks for sharing your story here.

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  23. I was prescribed Belsomra to help me FALL asleep while using a CPAP machine (my sleep apnea is not severe). Before I started with the CPAP I had problems getting asleep and so for years I had used 1 Ambien or 1/2 a pill of Ambien with 2 Tylenol PM or variations and that usually gets me to sleep I wasn’t having any problem STAYING asleep. I felt I needed something stronger with the CPAP. So far with Belsomra 10 mg it doesn’t always put me to sleep and then it wakes me up more than once a night and “permanently” too early in the morning. (Same complaint with Rozerem I used for a month). In my previous life I normally had wakened at 6:15 after going to bed between 1030 and 11.) I think a key may be being absolutely IDLE during the “30 minutes before bedtime after you take the pill.” Not even reading, maybe. Lois – is there a “window of opportunity” with these drugs? Even Ambien? And is Belsomra mainly meant to KEEP someone asleep not to help fall asleep.

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    1. Hi Donna,

      I think you should report your experience with Belsomra to your doctor, and let him or her take it from there.

      Regarding the instruction to remain idle after taking the pill, I think what this refers to is physical idleness. You should avoid being up and about because of potential falls and accidents that might occur after taking sleep medication.

      As far as the idea of a window of opportunity with sleep meds goes, it’s easier to think about how quickly these drugs will start to act and how long the effects will last. Each sleeping pill is different.

      But according to information from Provider Synergies LLC, an affiliate of Magellan Medicaid Administration, Inc., the effects of Belsomra may kick in within 30 minutes but may be delayed up to 6 hours. (Apparently there’s a 1.5-hour delay if you take this medication with or soon after a meal.) Information about how long the effects will last is not provided in this document. Here’s the URL:

      http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/news/meetings/2015/ptc/042415/4x.pdf

      Ambien is a shorter-acting drug, as you will see.

      The testing done on Belsomra suggests the drug is better at KEEPING people asleep than PUTTING people to sleep. But the FDA approved the drug for use in treating patients with both problems.

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      1. Thanks, I’m certainly going to do that. He’s terrific but hard to get an appointment with – I’m scheduled for February at present but could move it up once I have figured out what’s happening. The busy pulmonary practice can barely answer the phone! Meanwhile I was just interested in seeing what others are saying especially since you are able to respond! Thanks.

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  24. Question.. Has Belsomra caused anyone to experience nausea the following day after taking?

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  25. I’ve suffered from moderate to severe insomnia for 20 years. Problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. I was on ambien for 10 years, but developed serious memory loss and switched to trazodone. Still suffered from exhaustion upon waking. I have diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and haven’t felt rested since I gave birth to my daughter.

    A new-to-me doctor prescribed Belsomra, 20 mg trial pack. I was skeptical and frightened because drugs can cause more harm than good to me, sometimes, so first 2 nights I took a half pill. I woke up less often through the night, but other than that experienced no other benefit or problem.

    I tried 20 mg and after 2 nights I was not only sleeping through the night, I slept about 12 hours a night. This continued for 5 nights. Then my sleep suddenly snapped into an 8 hours a night rhythm. A miracle!

    Not only was the sleep restorative, my daytime mental experience was more alert and vivid. The deep exhaustion I experienced for 20 years began to lift. Then I ran out of the 20mg trial.

    For three nights I returned to my pre-belsomra regimen. I felt better than before Belsomra until day 4, when I began to feel thoroughly exhausted again. On the theory that I should take the lowest effective dose we tried the 15 mg trial. It didn’t work as well as the 20. We also tried the 10 mg trial while I was waiting for approval for my insurance company to cover the 20mg dose.

    I’m waiting now for a 3 month supply of the 20mg. It is quite astonishing to have sleep that feels restorative after all these years. I’ve experimented with this quite a bit over the course of using these three trial packs, and do notice an significant quality of life difference when using Belsomra, even when I don’t sleep through the night.

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    1. Hi Liz,

      This is quite a ringing endorsement of this new drug! Thanks for writing in to share your story about all the testing and tweaking you and your doctor have done in order to figure out the best dose.

      I hope your insurance company covers the expense and that in using the drug you find it continues to help with sleep and daytime stamina. Good luck!

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  26. Hi I started a fatal insomnia Last August after taking a large two weeks dose of fluoride based antibiotic. So basically my sleeping system in my brain, celebra spinal fluid and mitochondria has terminated. Since than I took benzo (now on Esilgan , generic name for Estazolam) 2mg a night. I am dependent on it now and started to cause terrible short breath, extreme thirsty feeling even already drink, vertigo etc and not helping anymore for sleep. Already four months without any wink with benzo except maximum 2hrs with agonizing nightmares.Everyday My Body Tired And Begging For My Brain To Shut Off, but no more connection. Brain cant recognize the signal from my body. When the moment before the rem, my whole body especially my back around the spinal area got jolt/shock/pressure like falling from the high place with muscle pain. I like the Idea that Belsomra is not associate with gaba receptor since my gaba system already abused by benzo, so I think it needs a break time hoping it will heal and naturally up regulate. There is no reason for me to taper benzo yet since my reAson to take benzo is fatal insomnia, not anxiety or depression. Depression is the result, not the cause. And my immune system deteriorated now that causing many more problem. My life is about to end

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  27. I get bouts of insomnia thought the year , when I mean bouts I mean zero sleep for days on end . Normally when I am not suffering I wake up many times a night (my entire life). I tried Lunesta anyd it just didn’t work for me . I tried Belsomra at 10mg and nothing , bumped up to 20mg with 5mg of melatonin and I was able to get 6 1/2 hours of sleep and felt great in the morning . I still wake up many times during the night but the Belsomra seems to allow me to get right back to sleep in a few minutes when otherwise I could toss and turn for 15-30 minutes or an hour before falling back asleep. I feel the melatonin gets me drowsy and sleepy and the Belsomra works well allowing me to get back to sleep after I wake up every few hours . It’s working for me .

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    1. Hi Al,

      I’m glad the Melatonin/Belsomra combination is working out for you. Thanks for sharing your experience with this new drug.

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  28. I never tried Belsomra neither have an access to obtain in third world country. Could you take this medicine for long term. Does is make dependency and withdrawal? If it does, how bad compared to Benzo?

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  29. Hi Jiwa,

    In the United States, the drug has been approved for use without a short-term restriction. So it can be taken for however long a physician is willing to prescribe it.

    A definitive answer to your question about dependency and withdrawal may not be known until after this drug has been on the market for a while. As I stated above, a year-long clinical trial showed that people taking Belsomra had no more difficulty withdrawing from the drug than did people taking a placebo. This suggests that the drug’s potential to foster the build-up of tolerance and dependency is low.

    But the same can be said about most sleeping pills that make it through the FDA approval process these days. These claims about tolerance and dependency may or may not withstand the test of time.

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  30. I have suffered from insomnia for over 10 years. I’ve been taking Zolpidem 5mg but it has been taking longer to fall asleep every night. It could take up to 4 hours to work. My doctor suggested I try Belsomra 10mg.
    I took it at 10pm last night. I started feeling nauseous. I went to bed at 10.30 and was still awake at 5am when my husband got up. I fell asleep for a couple of hours but it was restless dreaming if everything that had happened that day. I’ve soaked the rest in hot water and flushed them down the sink. I would never try another one. I am feeling drained. I think this is a very dangerous medication. I am 71 years old and have been used to taking different medications over the years but this one had the worst effect of anything in my lifetime.

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    1. Hello Carol,

      I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with this drug. Sleeping pills have different effects on different people. Belsomra is no exception, as you’ll see if you read through the comments on this blog post.

      There are drug free ways of managing insomnia and other sleep problems. GPs and internists are not necessarily aware of them, though, and some prescribe sleeping pills because it’s quick and easy.

      Have you consulted a sleep specialist about your insomnia? If not, I’d recommend it. Specialists are better at diagnosing sleep problems and recommending appropriate treatments.

      Best of luck.

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  31. I have sleep/awake dreams they are calling sleep parlays on top of fibro and insomnia since elementary school, it wasn’t a problem til I couldn’t function & almost sliced my finger off with a sliced at 7-11 working the midnight shift. Then benadryl, than benadryl with melatonin, than ativan .5, then added benadryl yadda… Until I got up to 2-3 pills a night. No one understood sleep paralysis until I had a sleep study that shows I get 7 mins restful sleep and being on an anantihistamine, antianxiety, antidepressants, zanaflex and tambien. So now I take gabapentin, zyrtec, singulair, benadryl, magnesium, potassium, and ambien. I fall asleep, hallucinate, or wake up at 3am for the day, so with all that, I am wondering if Belosmera will put me in a restful HEALING sleep. That’s what I am looking for, to have an immune system & get fibro flares under control. Anyone else heard of this mess???

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  32. For all of you that can’t sleep despite all the meds you have tried, please see an allergist and get tested for a dust mite allergy. That is my problem. I can sleep anywhere that doesn’t have carpeting and only sleep a few broken hours with carpeting.

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  33. Ive been on 3mg of lunesta for a long time and really it doesnt help ive seen the ads for belsomra and wondered hmm i wonder if this would work for me! Now my insurance is making me go thru prior auths. to get my meds so i run out and i can afford out of pocket any ideas how to get some sleep i still have ambien left over will that help or should i try to get a trial of belsomra i just want to sleep any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated.

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  34. Dr gave me Belsomra 10mg sample 6 tab, didn’t work at all. He took me off Zolpidiem 10mg. Now I am stuck with a $300 prescription my insurance won’t cover and the dumb cows in the front desk wont tell the Dr. I wish I could just message him directly. Instead of dealing with those other people that don’t know anything.

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  35. I have terrible insomnia – can’t go to sleep or wake up after an hour or two and remain awake the rest of the night. Gave up alcohol without any improvement. Have used Restoril in past but Ambien works much better – but taking it every night makes it less effective. Have tried Belsomra for several nights and it is useless except for a dry mouth and headache. Same for medical marijuana. What to do??

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    1. Hello Tony,

      It doesn’t sound like you’re getting much sleep, and I’m sorry to hear Belsomra hasn’t helped. Most medications that DO work lose their effectiveness the longer they’re taken—this seems to be the overall consensus of researchers and people who’ve used them on a nightly basis. So, as you say, what to do?

      The two problems you describe—trouble falling asleep at the beginning of the night, and waking up an hour or two after you fall asleep—make me wonder if cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) might be your best bet. It’s helped me quite a lot, and research suggests that most people who try it succeed in improving their sleep—without needing drugs to do it.

      CBT-I usually involves a combination of changes in sleep habits and challenges to the ways you think about sleep. Doctors, psychologists, and nurses certified in behavioral sleep medicine can act as coaches as you go through the process. There are also CBT-I programs offered online, and books that spell out exactly what to do if you’re working on your own. For blog posts I’ve written on the topic, click on “Blog” at the top of this page and type “CBT” or “sleep restriction” into the site search box in the top right corner.

      Sleep restriction is normally part of the CBT-I process. It sounds daunting to many people with insomnia—and it sounded daunting to me. I talk about this in a blog post and a
      you-tube video:

      https://thesavvyinsomniac.com/sleep-restriction-up-close-and-personal/

      But the truth is that going through CBT-I (and undergoing sleep restriction) and doing well-timed daily exercise are the things that have most helped improve my sleep. I document my experience of CBT-I in Chapter 8 of my book, The Savvy Insomniac. I thought that reading about my experience (and the experiences of others who went through therapy with me) might be useful for people considering going through the therapy themselves—sort of a window into what to expect.

      CBT-I is the best suggestion I have to offer now. All the best in improving your sleep!

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  36. I gave Belsomra a couple of months try. Had very mixed results, mostly bad for me. There is some literature on the Merck (maker of Belsomra) website that indicates side effects that worsen and you may not be aware of it. For me, that was loss of appetite (I am slim to begin with) and a steadily increasing depression. I take a few meds and attributed these symptoms to other meds (my mistake). I had to go off of Belsomra, and glad I was able to do so. I did get some minor discontinuation for a few days, but it is back to Ambien for me as well. Be careful with this one. Be very aware of symptoms of which you may not acknowledge as they occur. I am sure Belsomra works for some, just not me.

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    1. Thanks, Anthony, for your review of Belsomra. It’s both personal and even handed and is bound to be appreciated by others who read this post.

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  37. Can’t find a doctor who is willing to Rx BELSOMRA. I have the coupon/discount from Merck all setup. … I live in Southern California, in San Bernardino county. I’ve gone to 4 doctors including my PCP, in major metro cities (Fontana, Redlands, Whittier, Anaheim ..)
    Is there something going on in California with this medication
    I have severe insomnia and it is the #1 major life problem affecting and impairing all other parts of my life. Sometimes– often— I end up staying awake through the next day and late night— I’ve forgotten how to sleep until the exhaustion shuts me off, but the general body pain and low brain functioning all begin around 24 hrs awake, so it’s well before i “shut out”. All my friends and family members know about it. I end up sleeping all day and missing events etc. I have tried all the typical as others cite above, Benadryl, ,melatonin etc.

    Point of this post is to ask for any specific Doctor referrals. Can someone give me name of a Dr who will actually know about Belsomra and be able to Rx it?

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  38. My problem is that although I have no problems falling asleep, I often wake up around 1 am, or 2 am, or 3 am (you get the idea) and can’t fall back asleep. For a number of years, I’ve used things like melatonin, over the counter sleeping pills, herbal sleep remedies, and teas. Aside from over the counter sleeping pills which do help but leave me in a foggy state in the morning, the others have worked – for a while. Then they lose their effect. One combo that does work well is a baby aspirin with one antihistamine (I call them yellow pills, over the counter allergy pills you find at CVS and other places). But my doctor warned me of overuse of antihistamines; new research seems to indicate that they may be very bad for you – don’t remember what though.

    My doctor mentioned Belsomra, a sleeping aid that helps you stay asleep, but not get you to sleep. I’ve begun using it (10 mg) and it works very well. Because of the listed side effects, I’ll take them for 2 days, then rotate among the other remedies I’ve listed before using Belsomra again. This works okay. Maybe I’ll use Belsomra more often as a test. I will have wine with dinner and before, but alcohol is listed as a no-no with Belsomra, so avoid it on those nights.

    Belsomra certainly doesn’t help me fall asleep, I can’t say it knocks me out. I just fall asleep naturally, like I always do. But if/when I wake up to go to the bathroom, I feel very sleepy and can fall back asleep – unlike my usual pattern where the brain seems to wake up and then … I’m awake.

    I suspect there are many kinds of sleep disorders and different people react differently to various sleep aids – and these may loose their effect with time. So the research test of Belsomra with patients may not be very reliable.

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    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for offering your perspective on Belsomra. The trials do indicate that it’s effective for sleep maintenance insomnia but not so much for sleep onset insomnia.

      Long-term, nightly use of sleep medications can set people up for problems down the line. So it’s good you’re thinking about ways to avoid them.

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  39. I have been using Belsomera over a year. I’m wondering if anyone else has noticed cognitive issues. I’m seeing a significant increase in word finding difficulty, loss of memory and forgetfulness. I have a complexion that requires processing and a fair amount of typing and my fingers are typing incorrect almost like dyslexic. On top of excessive daytime sleepiness and the episodes of sleep paralysis. I do like being able to remember my dreams which I haven’t been able to in years with using Ambien or Lunesta.

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