Health Union, which creates condition-specific online patient communities, recently shared results from its inaugural Sleep Disorders In America survey. Health Union uses these findings to support its newly launched patient site

Of the respondents within the Sleep Disorders In America survey who answered insomnia-specific questions, more than six in 10 said they currently take a prescription medication that treats insomnia or related symptoms. These prescriptions include those specifically approved for treating insomnia, as well as medications that promote wakefulness, stimulants, pain relievers, and anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.

Unsurprisingly, insomnia respondents who currently use a prescription medication were more likely than those who don’t to be living with chronic insomnia, defined as at least three times a week for a period of at least three months. Similarly, respondents with insomnia who don’t currently take a prescription were more likely to consider their condition severity to be mild.

The findings suggest that respondents who currently use prescription medications are simultaneously dealing with other medical conditions in addition to their insomnia. Specifically, insomnia respondents who currently use a prescription medication were more likely to have also been diagnosed with arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, and neuropathy.

Additionally, people with insomnia are also dealing with emotional and mental health burdens. Respondents who currently use a prescription are also diagnosed with anxiety or panic disorders and depression. In fact, of those insomnia respondents who currently use prescriptions, three-fourths are currently using antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

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Possibly related to a lower condition severity and less comorbidities, respondents who don’t currently take a prescription were more likely than those who do—57% to 18%—to not see a HCP for their insomnia. They were also more likely to say they’d rather make changes to their lifestyle or diet than take a prescription medication.

Respondents who currently take a prescription medication rely on doctors’ treatment recommendations, use health care providers to learn about or manage their insomnia and plan on speaking to their doctor about changing or adding to their treatment plan over the following six months. They were also more likely to say they feel they do a good job of following their treatment plan and that it’s easy for them to take medications or use medical devices where and when they’re supposed to.

“With so many different types of conditions affecting sleep, aims to provide a safe place where people with insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and other disorders can find the information, support, and validation they seek,” says Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union, in a release. “It has also provided an opportunity to illuminate the perspectives and journeys of people with conditions, such as insomnia, that might often be misunderstood.”

The Sleep Disorders In America survey, which fielded from March 3 to July 24, 2020, included responses from 2,198 people living with sleep disorders. Respondents answered different questions depending on their type of sleep disorder. The survey included 404 insomnia respondents, 105 narcolepsy respondents, 434 restless legs syndrome respondents, 968 sleep apnea respondents, and 287 with another form of sleep disorder.

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