Medscape: Chronic insomnia is underrecognized and misunderstood in primary care, sleep expert Christopher Lettieri, MD, told attendees at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine Meeting 2021.

Too often, medications are the treatment of choice, and when used long term they can perpetuate a problematic cycle, said Lettieri, professor in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

However, medications alone won’t work without other behavior modifications and they come with potential side effects, he said in his talk. Prescription medications typically don’t treat the cause of the insomnia, just the symptoms.

“In the 15 years I’ve been practicing sleep medicine, I can honestly say I only have a handful of patients that I treat with long-term pharmacotherapy,” Lettieri said.

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