Short-term zolpidem dose may be an effective treatment for insomnia

January 2nd, 2008 - 3:31 pm ICT by admin  

Washington , Jan 2 (ANI): A new study has provided relief to insomniacs, by finding that a short term dose of a drug, zolpidem extended-release, can prove to be a potent treatment of insomnia in people.

The researchers said that if intake of zolpidem extended-release 12.5 mg, is administered for three to seven nights a week for up to six months, it may result in considerable progress in sleep onset and maintenance, with improved next-day concentration and morning sleepiness in people suffering from insomnia.

The study, led by Andrew D. Krystal, MD, of Duke University focused on about 1,018 patients in the age group 18-64 with chronic primary insomnia, having difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep or going through un-restored sleep for more than three months.

These patients were given either a single dose of zolpidem extended-release or a placebofor for about three to seven nights every week.

The results indicated a considerably greater benefit statistically in the zolpidem group as compared to the placebo group on patient global ratings of improvement.

However, during the course of the study, there was no reduction in clinical efficacy and there was no evidence of insomnia hitting back when the drug was discontinued.

After 12-weeks, almost 89.7 percent of zolpidem extended-release patients confirmed that it helped them sleep in comparison to 51.4 percent of placebo patients.

“Approximately 10 percent of the population suffers from chronic insomnia. These individuals are most commonly treated with medications in clinical practice, though for many years we lacked data on the long-term medication management of insomnia, said Krystal.

However, recent studies document the efficacy and safety of nightly treatment with some insomnia agents for periods of up to one year. As the duration of treatment increases, the costs and risks of adverse effects associated with taking a medication nightly become increasingly important considerations.

For the chronic insomnia patients who have waxing and waning symptom severity, it may be possible to decrease the costs and risks by employing non-nightly medication dosing.

Consistent with this model, nearly half of insomnia patients take their medications on an as needed basis. Existing studies document the risk-benefit profile of this practice with the insomnia medication zolpidem 10 mg for periods up to three months, he added.

The study was published in the recent issue of the journal Sleep. (ANI)

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