Merck's Belsomra for insomnia now available in US
- Belsomra (suvorexant) is the first and only orexin receptor antagonist approved for the treatment of insomnia.
- Orexin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in promoting wakefulness. Antagonism of this neurotransmitter is designed to suppress wake drive in the brain.
- Recommended dosing is 10 mg no more than once per night, within 30 minutes of going to bed. Total dose should not exceed 20 mg.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 30% of all adults in the U.S. have symptoms of insomnia, which can be caused by a variety of biological, psychological or social factors. Merck has been involved in sleep studies for more than 10 years and is committed to addressing the challenge of insomnia. Discovery of orexin by researchers in Japan in collaboration with Stanford University researchers was a true breakthrough. Now, 17 years after that discovery, drug developers have formulated orexin into an oral medication that has been proven to successfully address symptoms of unwanted wakefulness. Belsomra should not be taken by individuals with narcolepsy.