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Chronic Insomnia

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Insomnia is one of the most common medical complaints, generating over 5 million office visits per year in the US alone. Symptoms of insomnia occur in one-third to one-half of adults in the US, and are more prevalent among women and older adults. In patients with coexisting psychiatric illnesses, the incidence approaches 50% to 75%. About 1 in 10 adults has chronic insomnia – symptoms that occur at least 3 times per week for at least 3 months. Among patients with chronic insomnia, up to one-third suffer daytime consequences.

Although hypnotic medications have been considered the cornerstone of insomnia therapy for decades, recent guidelines recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia. In the last 10 years, new drugs have entered the marketplace for insomnia treatment: a melatonin receptor agonist, ramelteon (Rozerem®), the orexin receptor antagonist, suvorexant (Belsomra®),12 and low-dose doxepin (SilenorTM). Over-the-counter medications (eg, antihistamines, melatonin supplements) and other prescription medications used off label are also sought-after remedies for insomnia.

This issue focuses on updated recommendations for the management of insomnia in adults. The importance of advocating for behavioral changes (sleep hygiene and stimulus control) prior to medication use is highlighted. The medications that may be used in addition to behavioral therapy are reviewed. When advising patients, providers should take an active role in discussing medication benefits and risks, including appropriate medication choice, duration of use, tolerance, side effect management, and drug interactions...


Publication Date: 02/23/2017
Expiration Date: 02/23/2020
CE Credit: 1.5 (0.15 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.


Jennifer A. Reinhold, B.A., Pharm.D., BCPS, BCPPis an Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Sciences in Philadelphia.

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Reinhold reports no financial relationship with the manufacturer(s) or provider(s) of any commercial product(s) 1 or service(s) that appears in this issue.

Guest Editorial Advisor

Ericka L. Crouse, PharmD, BCPP, CGP, FASHP is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist - Psychiatry and a Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center Richmond in Virginia.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists .

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Review the prevalence, pathophysiology, and consequences of insomnia.
    2. Explain the recommendations and rationale for cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. Be able to counsel patients regarding sleep hygiene tips, stimulus control measures, and potential problems with the use of OTC sleep medications.
    3. Describe the efficacy, indications, side effects, and drug interactions of GABA-A receptor modulators (including benzodiazepines and Z-drugs), ramelteon, and suvorexant.
    4. Discuss the role of antidepressants and antipsychotics in the treatment of insomnia.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

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Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-17-002-H01-P

Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 1.5 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Chief Editor and CE Administrator

Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Managing Editor

Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors

James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA

Consultant Pharmacist
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA

Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Detroit, MI

Senior Editorial Advisor

Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors

Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners

Emily K.
Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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