Americans love over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids. In 2015 we spent $427 million on products like ZzzQuil, Unisom, and Sominex.
These drugs are advertised “for relief of occasional sleeplessness.” Yet many Americans—particularly older adults—use OTC sleep aids several nights a week and may want to consider scaling back because of the side effects.
How do people with insomnia feel about sleeping pills?
Attitudes toward sleep medications differ from one American to the next, and between Americans and Australians, it turns out. Here’s a brief comparison that I hope will start a conversation.
Occasionally I hear from long-term users of sleeping pills who suspect the pills are doing more harm than good. Their sleep is not very satisfying and they don’t feel rested during the day.
Here’s why you might want to explore the idea of discontinuing sleeping pills and what to expect if you decide to do it.
Blog posts I’ve written about sleeping pills get a lot of traffic. Among people with sleep problems, interest in drugs to relieve insomnia is high.
Pharmaceutical companies don’t seem to share this interest, though. A quick survey suggests that few companies are actively working on new drugs for the treatment of insomnia. Those with sleeping pills in the pipeline are developing drugs similar to suvorexant (Belsomra). Here’s more about this relatively new class of insomnia drugs.
Belsomra, 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.
I went to my family physician for a routine physical last week. I hadn’t had one in a while, so I decided to get the exam and requisitions for the usual blood work.
This doctor is one whose opinions I respect. But I never hesitate to speak up when information I have leads me to question those opinions. One topic we’ve had discussions about is insomnia and sleeping pills.
Sleeping pills usually tarnish with age. Zolpidem (Ambien), approved for the treatment of insomnia, is no different.
But a new study from Stanford suggests that low doses of zolpidem may help people recover more quickly from stroke. Here’s the gist of that study, published on December 18 in Brain, and what post-marketing studies tell us about zolpidem used for insomnia.