The FDA recently called for a decrease in the recommended dosage of Ambien, a medication used to treat people who have trouble going to sleep. This was in part due to many reports of people having a sleep-walking type of event in which the person feels wide awake at the time, but has no memory of what they are doing from the time they take the medication until they fall asleep.
The latest news in sleep medicine is the discovery of a new medication called Suvorexant that will likely be approved by the FDA soon. The interesting thing about this med is that it works unlike any other medication that man has made. This class of medications will be called the Orexin Receptor Antagonists. Orexins are chemicals in our brain that help keep a person awake. Suvorexant temporarily blocks the actions of orexins in order to facilitate sleep.
Currently, the FDA is suggesting a lower dosage of Suvorexant than proposed by the manufacturers. If the FDA requires another study to be performed at lower doses, it could take another 18 months to get resubmitted for review. Only time will tell if this medication makes it to market, how well it works, and what the side effects may be.
However, this is a landmark moment, since no other drug that exists works this way. Thanks to countless hours of researchers in their test-tube filled labs, medicine has advanced one step further…
By Dr. Terra Caudill, MD, MS