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What prescription drugs cure insomnia?

In addition to lifestyle and behavior changes, a prescription sleep medication may be required. One type (or class) of drugs used for insomnia is the hypnotic such as zaleplon (Sonata®), zolpidem (Ambien®) and certain benzodiazepines. These medications usually are recommended for short-term use. The newer hypnotic medications generally are well-tolerated and have little risk of abuse. The use of tranquilizing drugs to solve chronic insomnia is not recommended by

conventional or alternative medicine. The problem arises when the insomniac becomes accustomed to the good night's sleep the drugs induce and does not want to stop taking the medication. The other problem is tolerance, which means the drug slowly stops working, even when higher doses are taken. The dual problems of addiction and tolerance cause physicians to be extremely cautious when prescribing sleep medications.

Prescription medications for insomnia should be taken at the lowest dose possible. Various types of prescription medication include:

Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are the ones most commonly prescribed hypnotics. Originally developed to treat anxiety, these drugs reinforce a chemical in the brain that inhibits neuron excitability. They include lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), triazolam (Halcion), and temazepam (Restoril), among others. Side effects include respiratory symptoms, daytime drowsiness, memory loss, and odd mood states. Benzodiazepines are potentially dangerous when combined with alcohol and should not be taken by people who use the ulcer medication cimetidine (Tagamet).

Non-benzodiazephines. Newer short-acting nonbenzodiazepines are available that can induce sleep with fewer side effects than the benzodiazepines. These hypnotics include zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), and zopiclone (Imovane). They include zolpidem (Ambien), zopiclone, and zaleplon. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, nightmares, agitation, and headache. These hypnotics may pose less of a risk of dependence. The brands have some differences, Zaleplon (Sonata) is the shortest-acting hypnotic available. It can be taken even in the middle of the night and if a patient needs to awaken in only four hours. Zolpidem (Ambien) may be useful for people who take it as soon as they go to bed, since it is longer acting than Sonata.

Antidepressants. These can relieve insomnia associated with depression or early morning awakening. A combination of newer antidepressants and structured psychotherapy is proving to be very effective for improving both depression and insomnia in patients with both conditions. Researchers are particularly interested in investigating nefazodone (Serzone), a newer antidepressant that appears to improve sleep efficiency. Newer antidepressants include trazodone (Desyrel), nefazodone (Serzone), and paroxetine (Paxil). These medications have far fewer side effects, and much less danger for overdose, than other anti-insomnia drugs.

More information on insomnia

What is insomnia? - Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or a disturbance in sleep that makes sleep seem inadequate or unrefreshing.
What types of insomnia are there? - Insomnia can be classified as transient, intermittent, and chronic insomnia. Insomnia is also characterized as primary or secondary insomnia.
What causes insomnia? - About half of all insomnia cases are caused by psychological or emotional problems. Sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism can also cause insomnia.
What causes transient insomnia? - Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary situation. A reaction to change or stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and transient insomnia.
What causes chronic insomnia? - One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma.
What're the risk factors for insomnia? - The strongest risk factors for insomnia are psychiatric problems. Insomnia is more common in women than men.
What're the complications of insomnia? - Complications of insomnia include impaired mental functioning, accidents, mortality rates, stress and depression, heart disease, headaches.
What are the symptoms of insomnia? - Symptoms of insomnia can be different for each individual, and people with insomnia might experience a variety of symptoms.
How is insomnia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of insomnia is made by a physician based on the patient's reported signs and symptoms.
What's the treatment for insomnia? - Treatment of insomnia may involve treatment of the underlying medical disorder. Medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and antianxiety drugs.
Behavioral and non-drug treatment therapies for insomnia - Behavioral therapies are effective for insomnia. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia.
What prescription drugs are available for insomnia? - Rescription sleep medication may be required to cure insomnia. Various types of prescription medication include benzodiazepines, antidepressants.
What over-the-counter medications are available for insomnia? - Over-the-counter medications for insomnia include Nytol, Sleep-Eez, and Sominex. Antihistamines may be used as mild sleep inducers.
Does melatonin help to cure insomnia? - Melatonin, or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine, is a hormone produced by pinealocytes in the pineal gland. Melatonin may help certain older people with insomnia.
What natural insomnia remedies are available? - Many alternative treatments are effective in treating both the symptom of insomnia. Many people with insomnia choose herbal remedies for treating insomnia.
How to prevent insomnia? - Prevention of insomnia involves balance of rest, recreation and exercise in combination with stress management, regular physical examinations, and a healthy diet.
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