Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Drug Proves Helpful For Treating Long-term Insomnia

Date:
October 22, 2003
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
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.

DURHAM, N.C. -- 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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "New Drug Proves Helpful For Treating Long-term Insomnia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061312.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2003, October 22). New Drug Proves Helpful For Treating Long-term Insomnia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061312.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "New Drug Proves Helpful For Treating Long-term Insomnia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061312.htm (accessed December 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Paper Books Better Than E-Books For Sleep Cycle?

Are Paper Books Better Than E-Books For Sleep Cycle?

Newsy (Dec. 23, 2014) A study from Harvard Medical School shows that electronic readers utilizing LED technology interrupt people's natural sleep cycles. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins