Navigation Links
Is a Better Sleeping Pill on the Way?

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- A new class of sleep medications appears to help people fall asleep without causing grogginess the next day, researchers say.

These new medications -- known as dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORA) -- target a more specific region of the brain than popular sleep drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta, promoting sleep without affecting learning and memory (also called "cognition"), according to the new research.

"We've shown that these compounds improve sleep at doses that don't impact cognition," said Jason Uslaner, lead author of a study published in the April 3 issue of Science Translational Medicine. Uslaner is director of In Vivo Pharmacology at Merck & Co., which funded the study.

Merck already has one such drug, suvorexant, under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

More than 30 million Americans struggle to get a good night's sleep, and about one-third of these use drugs to help the process, the study authors pointed out.

But widely prescribed sleep medications such as Ambien (zolpidem) and Lunesta (eszopiclone) can leave people feeling hung over and inattentive the next day. So much so that the FDA recently cut recommended doses of Ambien and other drugs that contain zolpidem for fear that their use, even the night before, might impair driving or other activities the next day.

Lunesta and Ambien affect GABA receptors, which are found throughout the brain and are associated with side effects, including thinking disturbances, and deficits in attention and memory, explained Uslaner.

About 15 years ago, scientists discovered chemical messengers known as orexins, which are released by a relatively small brain region known as the lateral hypothalamus. This area of the brain releases orexins during the day to keep us awake and lowers levels at night so we can sleep.

The appeal of orexin antagonists, said Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, is that they "target a system that's more specific for sleep."

That means, theoretically, fewer side effects and perhaps less of a tendency to be habit forming, Thorpy explained.

Uslaner and his colleagues investigated a compound called DORA-22, which has the same mechanism of action as suvorexant, to see how it fared alongside not only Ambien and Lunesta but also diazepam (Valium) in rats and rhesus monkeys.

DORA-22 did not lead to the same mental impairments as the other three drugs. Rhesus monkeys and rats performed just as well on memory and attention tasks shortly after being administered DORA-22 as they did on an inactive placebo.

In each case, the minimum dose to achieve sleep was compared with the minimum dose that altered memory and thinking. DORA-22 promoted sleep at lower doses than those that impaired mental skills when compared with the "control" drugs.

This is the first time in years that scientists have targeted a totally different receptor in the quest to combat insomnia, said Dr. Alexandre Abreu, co-director of the UHealth Sleep Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

But many questions remain: Do the drugs truly have fewer side effects? Will they be habit forming? And will they change the quality of sleep in any way?

Those questions will only be answered with more testing and use in humans, he said.

Experts note that findings from animal studies do not always hold up in human trials.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on insomnia.

SOURCES: Jason Uslaner, Ph.D., director, In Vivo Pharmacology, Merck & Co.; Michael Thorpy, M.D., director, Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Alexandre Abreu, M.D., co-director, UHealth Sleep Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.; April 3, 2013, Science Translational Medicine

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges Victims Dealing With A Mesothelioma Diagnosis to Call Them for the Names of the Best Mesothelioma Law Firms-Get Better Compensation
2. The Power of a Positive Mindset -’s New Study Reveals That Optimists Enjoy Better Mental and Physical Health
3. Kids of Better-Educated Parents Have Healthier Diets: Study
4. Madison Chiropractors Move to New Location to Better Serve Their Patients with Improved Environment Focused on Holistic Healing
5. hCGTreatments / Diet Doc hCG Diets & Weight Loss Plans Improves the My Diet Doc Health Questionnaire; Better Identifying Internal Factors that May Hinder Fast Weight Loss
6. Better Life Maids Birmingham Launches Local Birmingham Green House Cleaning Service
7. Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges All Victims of Mesothelioma Cancer to Call Them for the Names of the Most Skilled Mesothelioma Law Firms-For Better Compensation
8. Desire to Succeed Linked to Better Grades in College
9. Differences in bone healing in old mice may hold answers to better bone healing for seniors
10. Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges US Navy Veterans Diagnosed With Mesothelioma to Call Them for the Names of the Best Mesothelioma Law Firms-For Better Compensation
11. New imaging agent enables better cancer detection, more accurate staging
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Is a Better Sleeping Pill on the Way?
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... NewsWatch featured X-wing as ... available to consumers. Amanda Forstrom, a technology expert and special reporter for NewsWatch, conducted ... reality in the future. , It’s the future because flying cars are about to ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... , ... Effective immediately, every single IguanaMed scrub style will be available at ... offering a “Buy One Scrub Set, Get the 2nd Scrub Set 50% Off” for ... a discounted price. , IguanaMed’s mission is to outfit every healer around ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... at 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, customers will be racing ... off orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, there will be a new ... e-commerce website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will save on already discounted prices. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article published ... that they are handling security in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, ... attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around special events that ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that ... of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary ... spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... License Application (BLA) with the United States ... ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to Humira ® ... biosimilar application submitted to the FDA and represents Amgen,s ... Sean E. Harper , M.D., executive vice president ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail specialty pharmacy ... patients suffering from chronic pain, said today that it ... Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally terminating the ... --> --> The company said ... options. --> --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: