An experimental new drug to help insomniacs fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer is showing good results in clinical trials. Suvorexant, made by Merck, is a new type of sleep aid that works differently from others currently on the market.
Suvorexant works by targeting and blocking chemical messengers known as orexins that are designed to keep you awake and alert. They originate in the hypothalamus, a major sleep center in the brain.
The new drug was tested during a three-month period in two separate trials of more than 1,000 people who suffer from insomnia. Patients in the first trial reported that they fell asleep an average of 25.7 minutes faster while taking suvorexant, compared to 17.3 minutes for those who were taking a placebo. They also slept an average of 60.3 minutes longer than before they started using the drug. Patients on the placebo slept an average of 40.6 minutes longer.
The second trial also found the drug helped patients sleep longer but the amount of time it took for them to fall asleep was what researchers said was not statistically significant compared to patients on placebo. Side effects were mild and included headaches and sleepiness. No major side effects were reported.
Merck says it plans to apply for Food and Drug Administration approval later this year. If approved, suvorexant would be the first in a class known as orexin receptor antagonists.
Source: Fox News