As of August 13th, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Belsomra. Also called Suvorexant, Belsomra is used primarily for treating insomnia. It is meant to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. It is sold in tablet form.
It is the first drug approved of its type, which is an orexin receptor antagonist. This is a type of chemical that can help regulate the sleep and waking cycle that often keeps people awake, or have to insomnia. Belsomra can alter the way this chemical works in the brain.
How Belsomra Works
As an orexin receptor antagonist, the drug works by helping you to sleep. An orexin neuropeptide chemical promotes wakefulness, while blocking the orexin receptor suppresses wakefulness.
It is indicated not just for any insomnia, but insomnia associated with problems getting tired enough to sleep and for getting proper sleep throughout the night. Even someone who can fall asleep easily, but doesn’t stay asleep more than a couple hours, will benefit from Belsomra.
The Recommended Dosage
The maximum times a day to take Belsomra, according to the FDA, is just once a night. It is best to take it about 30 minutes before going to sleep, to let it enter your system and have enough time to make you drowsy for sleep.
You should only take it if you have at least seven hours of sleeping time before you want to be woken up. The recommended dose starts at 10mg a night, but can go up to 20mg. You should not take more than a single 20mg dose each day.
Potential Side Effects
There are several potential side effects when you take Belsomra, with drowsiness upon waking being the most common.
You will feel more drowsy if you took the sleeping medication, but only have 4-5 hours of sleep before you must get up. In fact, this can make it dangerous for you to drive or go to work, because it takes longer for you to fully wake up. You may not have proper alertness or reaction time if the drowsiness is bad enough, so practice caution.
Other possible side effects that people who took Belsomra during clinical trials experienced were dry mouth, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection, headache, dizziness, odd or abnormal dreams, and a cough upon waking. More serious side effects include a change in your heart or breathing pattern, or sleep walking. If you notice these signs, consult your doctor.
Like Ambien and Lunesta (both of which have had their recommended dosages revised by the FDA) Belsomra is an FDA-approved medication for sleep, but you should consult your physician before taking it. Always take it as directed and let your doctor know about any unusual behavior you experience while taking it.
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