- What is suvorexant (Belsomra)? What is suvorexant used for?
- What are the uses for suvorexant?
- What are the side effects of suvorexant?
- What is the dosage for suvorexant?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with suvorexant?
- Is suvorexant safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about suvorexant?
What is suvorexant (Belsomra)? What is suvorexant used for?
- Belsomra belongs to a class of drugs called sedatives or hypnotics. It is used for treating insomnia. Belsomra has a unique mechanism of action different from other sleep medications, for example, from benzodiazepine type of sleep medicines like diazepam (Valium).
- Belsomra causes sleep by blocking receptors in the brain called orexin receptors. Orexin A and B are brain chemicals that cause people to stay awake by binding to orexin receptors. Belsomra prevents orexin A and orexin B from causing wakefulness by blocking their attachment to orexin receptors. Reduced wakefulness means more sleep or increased ability to fall asleep. Suvorexant is a Schedule IV controlled substance similar to benzodiazepines because it has a low potential for abuse.
- The FDA approved Belsomra in April 2014.
What brand names are available for suvorexant?
Is suvorexant available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for suvorexant belsomra?
What are the side effects of suvorexant?
: Common side effects include:
Other side effects include:
Other less common side effects include:
Possible serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for suvorexant?
The recommended dose is 10 mg within 30 minutes of going to bed, allow time for at least 7 hours of sleep, and it should only be taken once each night. The lowest effective dose should be used and the maximum dose is 20 mg once daily. The effect may be delayed if it is taken with or soon after a meal.
The recommended dose of suvorexant is 5 mg when it is combined with the following drugs because these drugs moderately block the breakdown of suvorexant in the liver:
- aprepitant (Emend),
- atazanavir (Reyataz),
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro),
- diltiazem (Cardizem),
- fluconazole (Diflucan),
- fosamprenavir (Lexiva),
- grapefruit juice,
- imatinib (Gleevec), and
- verapamil (Calan SR)
The dose of Belsomra may be increased to 10 mg if the 5 mg dose is not effective.
Which drugs or supplements interact with suvorexant?
Combining Belsomra with alcohol increases the side effects of Belsomra.
The following drugs may increase blood levels of Belsomra significantly by blocking the breakdown of Belsomra in the liver:
- itraconazole (Sporanox),
- posaconazole (Noxafil),
- clarithromycin (Biaxin),
- nefazodone (Serzone),
- ritonavir (Norvir),
- saquinavir (Invirase),
- nelfinavir (Viracept),
- indinavir (crixivan),
- boceprevir (Victrelis),
- telithromycin (Ketek), and
- conivaptan (Vaprisol).
Belsomra should not be combined with these drugs and other drugs that significantly block its metabolism by liver enzymes.
Belsomra may increase blood levels of digoxin (Lanoxin) by blocking the breakdown of digoxin.
Is suvorexant safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Belsomra has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. It should only be used by pregnant women if the potential benefit justifies the risk to the fetus.
What else should I know about suvorexant?
What preparations of suvorexant are available?
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 5, 10, 15, 20 mg
How should I keep suvorexant stored?
- Belsomra should be stored at 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F) and in the original package. It should be protected from light and moisture.
Belsomra (suvorexant) is a member of the hypnotic class of drugs used to treat insomnia. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea (OSA), and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep. OSA is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep. OSA is diagnosed and evaluated through patient history, physical examination and polysomnography. There are many complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Treatments are surgical and non-surgical.
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep: 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement).
Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Sleep Disorders in Children and Teenagers
Sleep needs in children and teenagers depend on the age of the child. Sleep disorders in children such as: sleep apnea, parasomnias, confusional arousals, night terrors, nightmares, narcolepsy, and sleepwalking which can affect a child's or teen's sleep. Healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene can help your infant, toddler, preschooler, tween, or teenager get a good night's sleep.
Why Do People Sleepwalk (Somnambulism)?
Sleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with sleepwalking include genetic, environmental, and physiological. Episodes of sleepwalking may include quiet walking to agitated running. Conditions that may have similar symptoms of sleepwalking, but are not include night terrors, confusional arousals, and nocturnal seizures. Treatment of sleepwalking generally include preventative measures. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)
Insomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a symptom and not a disease. The most common causes of insomnia are medications, psychological conditions, environmental changes, and stressful events. Treatments may include non-drug treatments, over-the-counter medicines, and/or prescription medications.
Sleep Related Breathing Disorders
Sleep-related breathing disorders are characterized by disruptions of normal breathing patterns that only occur during sleep. Snoring and sleep apnea are the most common sleep-related breathing disorders.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.