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Current, Emerging, and Newly Available Insomnia Medications
Research into the sleep-wake cycle has provided new treatment targets for patients with insomnia as well as a better understanding of how medications affect sleep processes. Current insomnia medications, including benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines, focus on enhancing sleep-promoting systems through broad antagonism of GABA. Other medications that promote sleep by blocking wake-promoting systems include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antihistamines, but adverse effects and nonspecific therapeutic effects limit their use. New and emerging insomnia medications are focusing on blocking wake-promoting systems via more selective antagonism of orexin, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These medications may offer improved efficacy with fewer adverse effects.
From the Insomnia and Sleep Research Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.