Pharmacologic Management of Insomnia: Past, Present, and Future

Sleep Medicine and Research Center, St John's Mercy Medical Center and St Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, MO 63017, USA.
Psychiatric Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.13). 01/2007; 29(4):871-93; abstract vii-viii. DOI: 10.1016/j.psc.2006.09.006
Source: PubMed


Views on the etiology and morbidities associated with insomnia are evolving and affect clinicians' approach to the pharmacologic management of insomnia. Currently, benzodiazepine receptor agonists (BzRAs) and a single melatonin receptor agonist are recognized as safe and efficacious hypnotics. Variability in BzRAs, pharmacokinetics, and manipulation of dose provide clinicians with options that meet the needs of most patients. Other drugs (eg, sedating antidepressants) also are used commonly in clinical practice to treat insomnia, but evidence is lacking to support this most cases. Improvement in managing insomnia will result from systematic research with these drugs, with drugs in development, and with novel uses, such as co-therapy.

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    ABSTRACT: About half of the cases with chronic insomnia are related to psychiatric conditions., the remaining cases include insomnia related to medical conditions and sleep disorders. Insomnia not attributable to other disorder is termed primary insomnia. Sleep hygiene, and treatment of any underlying condition are the initial therapeutic approaches of insomnia. Benzodiazepine and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics promote sleep through a similar effect on benzodiazepine receptors which enhance GABA activity. The principal differences among those hypnotics relate to the duration of action. The risks of tolerance, abuse, and dependency are much less marked in non-benzodiazepine hypnotics. The use of antidepressants and other sedating drugs for treatment of insomnia is common. Behavioral treatment of insomnia can be quite effective. A number of approaches such as relaxation therapy, stimulus control, sleep restriction and cognitive therapy have proven to be effective. Combined or sequential pharmacologic and behavioral are often effective. Casi la mitad de los casos de insomnio crónico tienen una causa psiquiátrica, el resto está relacionado con enfermedades médicas y trastornos del sueño. El insomnio primario se diagnostica cuando no se identifi ca la causa. La higiene del sueño y el tratamiento de los trastornos subyacentes constituyen la aproximación terapéutica inicial del insomnio. Los hipnóticos benzodiazepínicos y no-benzodiazepínicos promueven el sueño actuando sobre receptores benzodiazepínicos que incrementan la actividad GABA. Las principales diferencias entre estos hipnóticos estriban en la duración de la acción. Los riesgos de tolerancia, dependencia y síndrome de abstinencia son mucho menores en los hipnóticos no benzodiazepínicos. Otros fármacos comunes en el tratamiento del insomnio incluyen antihistamínicos, sedantes y determinados antidepresivos. El tratamiento conductual del insomnio suele ser efi caz. Una serie de técnicas como las terapias de relajación, de estímulo control, de restricción de sueño o cognitivas, han demostrado su efi cacia solas o en combinación con la terapia farmacológica.
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