Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Drug Proves Helpful for Treating Long-Term Insomnia

22.10.2003


Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and elsewhere have completed the first large-scale study demonstrating sustained efficacy of a medication to treat insomnia for a period of six months.



Eszopiclone (trade name Estorra), was administered nightly to patients with chronic insomnia and led to significant improvement in patients’ ability to fall asleep and stay asleep and in the quality of their sleep without any evidence of a loss of effect over time, the researchers said. Prior to this study, the longest large-scale, placebo-controlled study of a sleep medication for insomnia lasted five weeks.

The data further demonstrate that improvements in sleep were associated with consistent improvements in the patients’ ratings of their capacity to function well during the day, said the researchers. Impairments in daytime function are one aspect of chronic insomnia, and the new study represents the first time any sleep medication has been shown to consistently improve all of the components that define insomnia, they said.


Insomnia is the perception of inadequate or poor-quality sleep that is accompanied by significant distress or impaired function. It is considered to be chronic if it occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more, according to the National Institute of Health.

"I believe that this study is a milestone for research into insomnia treatments," said Andrew Krystal, M.D., lead study author and associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Sleep Research Laboratory and Insomnia Clinic at Duke. "It greatly extends the period of time that a medication has been definitively shown to help people suffering from insomnia and it establishes that studies of longer-term drug treatment of insomnia are not only feasible but can be safely performed."

The research findings appear in the Nov. 1, 2003, issue of the journal Sleep.

The researchers randomized 788 patients aged 21 to 69 into a six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of three-milligram nightly doses of eszopiclone to treat their insomnia. Participants were required to meet the standard criteria used to make the clinical diagnosis of primary insomnia and to report, on average, less than six-and-a-half hours of sleep per night, or that it took at least 30 minutes to fall asleep for at least one month prior to being screened for the study.

According to Krystal, the results provide the first step toward establishing an empirical base to guide the long-term treatment of chronic insomnia with medication. The findings suggest that eszopiclone has the potential to provide doctors with a treatment option that could be prescribed for patients who require longer-term treatment. The data demonstrate that eszopiclone is safe and could be helpful. By opening the door for future studies of longer-term treatments for insomnia, this study represents an important step in the evolution toward improving treatment options for patients with chronic insomnia, he added.

"The fact that eszopiclone improved not only the difficulties in sleep that patients experience but also their reports of problems they typically experience during their waking hours, suggests the need for a change in our perspective," Krystal said. "The idea that effective treatment should address the entire spectrum of difficulties experienced by patients with insomnia is really a new way of thinking for the field."

An estimated 2.5 percent of Americans take sleep medications for insomnia in any given year, the researchers report. Of these, about 23 percent take such medications on a nightly basis for four months or longer. However, clinical research studies have examined the use of such drugs for an average use of one week. The problem with this, the researchers say, is that long-term drug treatment is being carried out without the existence of research supporting that long-term use is safe or effective in adults.

Nearly 60 percent of American adults surveyed about their sleep habits say they experience sleep problems more than a few times each week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In their 2003 "Sleep in America" poll, the group found that insomnia is the most common sleep problem and that only one in eight older adults say their problems have been diagnosed.

Of the many people who report sleep problems, 20 to 36 percent report that their problem lasted for more than one year. Thus, the researchers say, it is not surprising that so many people are using sleep medications for long periods of time.

Research funding was supported by Sepracor, Inc., the manufacturer of eszopiclone, a compound currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

Krystal has previously designed and conducted other studies for Sepracor and has served on an advisory board there.

Other authors on the study include James Walsh, Ph.D., of St. John’s/St. Luke’s Hospital and St. Louis University; Eugene Laska, Ph.D., of Nathan Klein Institute for Psychiatric Research and New York University School of Medicine; Judy Caron, Ph.D., of Sepracor, Inc. in Marlborough, Mass.; and David Amato, Ph.D., Thomas Wessel, Ph.D., and Thomas Roth, Ph.D., all of Henry Ford Sleep Disorders Center in Detroit, Mich.

Tracey Koepke | dukemed news
Further information:
http://dukemednews.org/news/article.php?id=7126

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>