This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Educational Activity

Current, Emerging, and Newly Available Insomnia Medications

Andrew D. Krystal, MD, MS

Published: August 26, 2015

Article Abstract

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.

This CME activity is expired. For more CME activities, visit
Find more articles on this and other psychiatry and CNS topics:
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders

Volume: 76

Quick Links: