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News Article

Insomnia Gets New Treatment

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 01/10/2022 - 17:34

One of the most common sleeping disorders, insomnia, has a novel therapy on its way. Today, Swiss drugmaker Idorsia received FDA’s approval for its treatment for insomnia in adult patients.

This is not the first treatment approved for this disease, other examples include Merck’s Blsomra and Eisai Co's Dayvigo. However, Indorsia’s CSO told Reuters that its compound does not cause residual somnolence. “The treatment belongs to a new class of medications called dual orexin receptor antagonists that work by blocking chemical messengers called orexins, which are responsible for keeping people awake,” shared Reuters.

The global market for insomnia is significantly large and it grew during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is estimated that more than 50 percent of the population of any country has symptoms of insomnia,” shared Edilberto Peña de León, BUPA. WHO’s research estimates that over 35 percent of the world's population suffered an unfavorable change in their sleeping patterns, impacting their quality of life. The pandemic caused sleeping disorders and anxiety crises for many, which are likely to cause a “fourth wave” of mental health issues, said Peña de León.

Sleeping less than six hours per night increases one’s body mass index by 0.18 and the possibility of suffering a cardiovascular event by 20 percent. It also increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by three times and the probability of suffering from depressive and anxiety disorders.

The Mexican Institute of Public Health (INSP) included insomnia in the list of mental health problems affecting medical professionals during the pandemic. It observed that insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress were commonly experienced by front-line professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, with young female doctors and paramedics being ultra-high-risk groups.

Moreover, COVID-19 survivors with long-term symptoms have reported constant insomnia, according to Hackensack Meridian Health, which coined the term “coronasomnia.” This latter condition describes sleep problems related to stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

A study published by the University of Southampton last year showed that the number of people experiencing insomnia increased from one in six to one in four. Insomnia rates in China, for example, rose from 14.6 percent to 20 percent during the peak lockdown period. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list insomnia as a common COVID-19 symptom.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst