Every now and then everyone has trouble sleeping. And then there are those of us who always have the problem.
No wonder the sleep medication industry now accounts for $1.7-billion in spending each year.
Todays Wall Street Journal discusses “A new sleep drug by Merck & Co. is expected to gain U.S. approval in the coming months, even as its main competitor is coming under growing scrutiny by regulators and doctors for sometimes-dangerous side effects. The new drug, known as suvorexant, will affect a different part of the brain than a generation of older medicines such as zolpidem, known as Ambien, which depresses brain activity. The hope is that suvorexant will cause fewer side effects than its older counterparts.
“An estimated 25% or more Americans face a bout of insomnia in a given year, and at least 1 in 10 suffers the chronic form of the disorder, routinely facing sleepless nights, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s a need for more drugs,” said Russell Rosenberg, chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. Current drugs don’t work for everyone, and a push to lower doses amid safety concerns has led to patients “coming in and saying it’s not working as well,” said Dr. Rosenberg, a practicing sleep psychologist and director of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology.
“New sleep drugs may be facing a higher approval bar, amid rising concern that Ambien and similar drugs cause side effects such as risky bouts of sleepwalking and next-day drowsiness, which can impair driving. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised doctors to reduce doses of Ambien for women, and added new warnings to its labeling earlier this year.”
Read full article at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324183204578565392659897114.html