Nowadays, about half of all Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. While many people endure traditional insomnia; countless others suffer from so-called maintenance insomnia, which is marked by frequent waking. To make themselves feel drowsy, numerous insomniacs turn to sleep medications, which tend to come with unpleasant side-effects. To meet the huge demand for more tolerable sleep aids, drug manufacturers are constantly performing tests which evaluate the efficacy and safety of new medications. Recently, one major drug company conducted a successful trial which may set the stage for a new, modern sleep aid that promotes drowsiness without causing side-effects.
Merck & Co.
The drug manufacturer Merck & Co. recently reported that it has successfully tested a new sleep aid which doesn’t cause the same memory and attention difficulties associated with Ambien, Lunesta and other sleep medications. Called Suvorexant, this medication is a DORA or Dual Orexin Receptor Antagonist, meaning it blocks the chemical messengers (orexins) which keep us awake. This characteristic makes Suvorexant different from other traditional sleep aids, which target GABA receptors that impact our memories in addition to sleep.
A Good Option for Sleep Apneics?
Although this new medication may be a godsend for typical insomniacs, it will never be a good option for people who suffer from sleep apnea. Since it promotes breathing difficulties that cause people to wake frequently at night, sleep apnea promotes a type of maintenance insomnia that persists in spite of medications. In reality, even if a sleeping pill could keep sleep apneics asleep, the consequences could be dire; after all, while it can be frustrating, frequent night-time waking is the brain’s way of telling a sleep apneic that he or she needs to wake up to replenish dwindling blood oxygen levels.
An Effective Treatment Plan
Let’s face it: you won’t find relief from sleep apnea by taking a magic pill. Contrarily, an oral appliance can offer long-term relief from sleep apnea by adjusting the jaw to create a clear airway. To learn more, contact Dr. Roubal's office today.