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How well do different medications work for insomnia?

Between 12-20% of the population suffers from insomnia. It can have a profound impact on health, wellbeing and productivity, so safe and effective treatment of this condition is key. Behavioural, cognitive and pharmacological interventions are all used in the treatment of insomnia; however, because of inadequate resources, medications are more frequently used.

In this large-scale systematic review and network meta-analysis, researchers have been able to compare different licensed and non-licenced drugs against each other, looking at efficacy, acceptability, tolerability, and safety, as well as what the current data can tell us about long term use. The authors analysed data from 154 studies carried out in the last 50 years (44,000 patients randomised to 30 drugs or placebo).

The authors of the paper were at the SMC to run through their findings and any implications for using medication in the treatment of insomnia. The results have been published in The Lancet.


Speakers included:

Prof Andrea Cipriani, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford

Prof Phil Cowen, Professor of Psychopharmacology, University of Oxford


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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