Insomnia is not only a nighttime problem. The sleep disorder can wreak havoc on day-to-day life, lead to difficulty concentrating, and the impaired ability to focus on work or school. A novel insomnia medication called daridorexant, produced by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals and scheduled for release later this year, offers new hope for the millions of Americans living with insomnia.

Daridorexant works by blocking the activity of the neuropeptide orexin, which is responsible for regulating wakefulness. While narcolepsy patients are thought to have too little orexin, insomnia patients may have too much. By binding to orexin receptors in the central nervous system, research released this week in the journal Lancet Neurology, shows that daridorexant can improve daytime alertness in adults with insomnia.

“People with insomnia often complain of impaired daytime functioning. This is a major issue often ignored in treating insomnia and in fact many sleep-promoting drugs can impair daytime functioning when they have residual effects,” says Emmanuel Mignot, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and lead author, in a statement.

Idorsia’s daridorexant is FDA approved in the United States under the tradename QUVIVIQ and will become available following scheduling by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in May 2022.

In the recent study, patients reported more and better sleep as well as an improvement i daytime functioning.

Specifically, at the dose of 50 mg, daytime symptoms improved as measured with the Insomnia Daytime Symptoms and Impacts Questionnaire (IDSIQ), an instrument for assessing daytime functioning in insomnia patients. Daytime sleepiness decreased after just one month and continued to show improvements through the third month of the study.

“It is exciting to see that insomnia is finally not solely viewed as a nighttime problem but as a cause of daytime suffering,” says Mignot.

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