Journal Title:  Annals of Clinical Psychiatry | Vol:  17 | Issue:  1 | Year:  2005   
Print ISSN:  1040-1237 | Online ISSN:  1547-3325   

Current Patterns and Future Directions in the Treatment of Insomnia

John Winkelman M.D., PH.D.
Ronald Pies M.D.

pages: 31 - 40
Full Text


Background. Despite the high prevalence and the high burden associated with chronic insomnia, it remains largely unrecognized and often inadequately treated by physicians.

Methods. A review was undertaken of the literature on barriers to both acute and chronic treatment of insomnia, as well as recent trials of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic agents for insomnia.

Results. Obstacles to appropriate treatment of the condition include outdated insomnia management guidelines, which have contributed to US Food and Drug Administration restrictions on longer-term prescription of hypnotic agents; lack of research demonstrating the benefit of treating insomnia; and fears of tolerance and withdrawal effects of long-term use of hypnotic agents, as well as an absence of longer-term, randomized, controlled, double-blind trials of existing agents used to treat insomnia.

Conclusions. There is evidence that improved sleep may improve outcome in some medical and psychiatric illnesses. Both behavioral and pharmacologic therapies have shown efficacy in chronic insomnia. In addition, a recent 6-month, randomized, controlled study has demonstrated that at least one agent may be safe and effective in longer-term use.