A Safe and Good Night’s Sleep

A Safe and Good Night’s Sleep

Author: Melania Tesio

Chronic insomnia is a sleep disorder mostly treated with non-benzodiazepine hypnotics such as zolpidem or eszopiclone. While these drugs successfully promote sleep by stimulating the activity of the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutiryc, they impair attention and memory.

According to Jason Uslaner and colleagues, Merck & Co Inc., West Point, PA, USA, these side effects can be avoided by using drugs which inhibit orexin, a neurotransmitter controlling wakefulness. The researchers demonstrated that DORA-22, a α-methylpiperidine carboxamide antagonist of orexin 1 and 2 receptors, induces sleep at doses 30 times lower than the ones which impair memory and attention. As consequence, when compared to zolpidem or eszopiclone, DORA-22 produced less side effects on the cognitive system.

Orexin receptors antagonists may, therefore, constitute a better alternative to non-benzodiazepine drugs to treat insomnia.

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