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Pills Plus Psychotherapy Can Beat Insomnia
Date:5/19/2009

But pharmaceuticals may help only in the short-term, new study finds,,,,

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- If you've been having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, a new study suggests that the short-term use of sleep medications plus behavioral changes may be the best combination for getting your zzz's.

The Canadian study, which appears in the May 20 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the short-term addition of the sleep medication, zolpidem (Ambien), coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy, helped more people overcome persistent insomnia.

"When we treat persistent insomnia in adults, we can use cognitive behavioral therapy alone or in combination with medications. This study found an added value to adding medications for the short-term," said study author Charles Morin, Canada Research Chair in Sleep Disorders at Laval University in Quebec.

"Insomnia significantly impairs quality of life, and it's a very costly problem for society at large," explained Morin. Effective treatment of insomnia, he said, might lead to higher productivity at work and a better overall quality of life.

According to the researchers, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia helps to re-teach patients good sleep habits. Another approach is sleep medications -- such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata).

These are the only treatments with consistent research supporting their use in treating insomnia, according to the study authors. However, each option is generally used on its own.

Morin and his colleagues wanted to know if a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and sleep medication would improve sleep for people with chronic insomnia.

Their study included 160 adults with persistent insomnia. All were treated at a Canadian university hospital sleep center between 2002 and 2005.

The study volunteers wer
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