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Belsomra for Insomnia Treatment: A Complete Review

Belsomra sleeping pill
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

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Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

According to the latest statistics [1*] , up to 30% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia globally. Fortunately, it is possible to treat the disorder. A doctor may recommend a combination of medicines and CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) or one of those interventions, considering the patient’s symptoms and individual needs.

Belsomra is one of the various sleeping pills approved for insomnia treatment. In this post, let’s review its mechanism of action, dosage options, side effects, and other basic facts about this drug.

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What is Belsomra

Belsomra is an FDA-approved [2*] prescription medicine for insomnia recommended for adults. It is prescribed to those who have trouble falling and remaining asleep for an entire night.

Belsomra is a controlled substance (Schedule IV [3*] ) since it is prone to misuse and can cause an addiction. It relates to the class of dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs) and contains suvorexant [4*] , which is also Belsomra’s generic name.

How Does Belsomra Work

Belsomra stops orexin activity in the brain; orexin is the brain chemical that keeps the brain awake and alert. When the chemical’s activities are halted, the brain does not get a message to wake up, hence helping asleep [5*] .

Suvorexant takes effect with the first dose and has a half-life of 12 hours. The half-life can be longer in a person 65 years old and above, a patient with other medical conditions, or those using other medication. The drug remains in the body for two to three days before elimination from the system.

Consult a doctor to know if Belsomra is the best choice for insomnia treatment for you.

Belsomra (Suvorexant) Dosage

Belsomra is available as an oral tablet of four strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg. The doctor initially prescribes a low dosage that is increased gradually to get to a patient’s appropriate amount. The standard daily dose is 10 mg, while the maximum dose is 20 mg daily. It also depends on a patient’s age, the severity of the sleep disorder, other medical conditions, and response to treatment.

Belsomra is administered once daily, at least thirty minutes before bedtime. A person should only take sleep medicine Belsomra if they can devote at least six hours to sleep and always follow the doctor’s instructions.

Belsomra dosage

Side Effects

Belsomra medication has both mild and severe side effects. Mild negative reactions may disappear after a few days and may not require medical intervention in that case. Any experience of severe side effects from these sleeping pills is rare and requires urgent medical attention.

Mild Side EffectsSevere Side Effects
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Drowsiness and sleepiness the day after taking the medication
  • Abnormal dreams 
  • Respiratory infections such as sinuses or common cold
  • Weight changes. 
  • Agitation or aggression
  • Confusion
  • Allergic reactions such as itchiness, skin rash, or flushing
  • Excessive sleepiness and decreased alertness
  • Other sleep disorders, such as hallucinations and nightmares  
  • Sleep paralysis, a problem characterized by an inability to talk or walk
  • Complex sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking, driving, making phone calls, or having sex
  • Memory disturbance or memory loss
  • Worsening depression [6*] and suicidal ideations
  • Temporary muscle and legs weakness

Contact a doctor if you experience any side effects from the prescribed medication for insomnia.

Contraindications and Precautions

Belsomra sleep aid might not be suitable for some. A patient should disclose his/her medication history, allergies, and taking any other medication. Disclosing these significant aspects ensures the person gets an effective and suitable treatment.

Contraindications

To prevent adverse effects, patients with the following conditions should not use Belsomra for sleep disorders:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Pre-existing severe liver dysfunction

Precautions

  • Do not take Belsomra together with alcohol. It can cause severe adverse mental and physical reactions.
  • Belsomra decreases concentration and awareness. A person on medication should not drive or operate equipment or machinery.
  • Belsomra should not be used with medications that cause drowsiness.
  • Belsomra should be used with caution in pregnant and nursing women.

Withdrawal Symptoms

A doctor gradually weans off the patient from the sleeping pills to minimize withdrawal effects. Sudden discontinuation of suvorexant may cause withdrawals symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nightmares
  • Severe headaches

Conclusion

Belsomra is an FDA-approved prescription sleep aid for adults. It is an effective treatment for patients that struggle to fall or stay asleep. However, Belsomra has serious side effects, hence the need for a patient to follow the doctor’s instructions and contact a doctor immediately in case of severe side effects or withdrawal symptoms. A patient should not review the Belsomra dosage or discontinue the treatment without a doctor’s approval. If you want to know if you need Belsomra or another sleeping pill to improve your sleep, contact MEDvidi today.

Sources

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+6 sources
  1. Sleep Statistics. (2023)
    Source link
  2. BELSOMRA
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  3. Controlled Substances
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  4. Suvorexant, a Dual Orexin Receptor Antagonist for the Management of Insomnia. (2014)
    Source link
  5. Suvorexant for the treatment of primary insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. (2017)
    Source link
  6. Adverse reaction with suvorexant for insomnia: acute worsening of depression with emergence of suicidal thoughts. (2017)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.