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Sleep Research

February  17, 2023

Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription medications commonly used to treat insomnia. Other medications, such as eszopiclone, doxepin, ramelteon, and dual orexin receptor antagonists are also used. A panel of sleep experts recently conducted a clinical appraisal focusing on the use of these insomnia medications, specifically determining if they should be used on a daily basis for durations longer than 3 weeks at a time. The expert panel's conclusion regarding the use of pharmacologic therapy for chronic insomnia was that the duration of treatment should be individualized, especially for those with medical and/or psychiatric comorbidities and taking other medications. The panel was also aware of the lack of data regarding the benefits of long-term use of benzodiazepines and recommended shared decision-making between the patient and healthcare provider about the length of treatment. In addition, they felt that patients should be counseled on alternative treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy as an alternative. Zee, P. C., Bertisch, S. M., Morin, C. M., Pelayo, R., Watson, N. F., Winkelman, J. W., & Krystal, A. D. (2023). Long-Term Use of Insomnia Medications: An Appraisal of the Current Clinical and Scientific Evidence. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(4), 1629.

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