Sleep Medication Part I

Tue, Jun 2, 2009


The most common complaint of people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other rheumatic conditions are sleeping problems or trouble falling asleep. Sleep medications, sleep medicines, sleeping pills, or other sleep aids are needed for some people to help lessen sleeping problems.

The trouble with sleep medications

The most appealing thought that can solve your sleep problems quickly is a pill. Unluckily, sleep medications don’t cure insomnia.  In the long run they can often make the sleeping problem worsen. The following concerns about the use of over-the-counter and prescription sleep medications should not be overlooked:

Drug tolerance. An increasing number of pills may require for them to work, which can lead to other side effects.

Drug dependence. Continuously taken medication to sleep will make you unable to sleep or have even worse sleep without it.

Withdrawal symptoms. Stop the medication abruptly may create withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and shaking

Side effects. Consuming sleep medications may lead to several side effects, such as uncertainty, drowsiness the next day, poor memory, and dry mouth. These side effects can be severe.

Drug interactions. Sleeping medications can interact with other medications if you are taking them. This interaction might worsen side effects and could be dangerous with prescription painkillers and other sedatives.

Rebound insomnia. This phenomenon happens when you need to stop the medication. Occasionally, the insomnia can become even worse than before.

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids

Antihistamine is the main component of over-the-counter sleeping pills and generally taken for allergies.

However, histamine, a chemical messenger to the brain, promotes wakefulness. That is why antihistamine is making you feel very sleepy. Some OTC sleep aids also include a pain reliever.  

Most common OTC sleep medications with a link to Drug Information Portal from National Institute of Health (NIH) include the following:

Diphenhydramine (found in brand names like Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compoz  

Doxylamine (found in brand names like Unisom, Nighttime Sleep Aid). OTC sleep aids are meant to be used for short term insomnia. Tolerance to the medication, meaning that you need a higher dosage of the medication for it to work, can develop in only a few days.                                                              



 Prescription Medication: Types and Uses 

Several different types of prescription medications are available in drug stores. Classification of these medications are related to sedative hypnotics. Those medications make an impact on receptors in the brain. Some of them slow down the nervous system, inducing and maintaining sleep by inducing it, while the others maintain awake state. The most common sleep medication, which is still in use, is benzodiazepines.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved benzodiazepines for treating insomnia. They include the following medications:

Estazolam (ProSom)      Flurazepam (Dalmane)      Quazepam (Doral)     

Temazepam (Restoril)    Triazolam (Halcion)

The other very common group of sleep medicine is called non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics. This medicine acts more specifically on the same area in the brain as benzodiazepines. They, apparently, have fewer side effects, and less risk of dependency, but are still considered controlled substances.

Some of them are listed below: 

      Eszopiclone (Lunesta)    Zaleplon (Sonata)    Zolpidem (Ambien

Another very powerful sleep medication is Ramelteon (Rozerem), which mimics the sleep regulation hormone melatonin. It has little risk of physical dependency but does have side effects. It is used for sleep onset problems and is not effective for problems in staying asleep.

Seventy million people suffer from sleep disorders. Find out about how these treatments can help. 

Watch Video: Treating Sleep Disorders (Insomnia)


For your information:

Drugs associated with Insomnia with descriptions and reviews are listed here.

Drugs, which are classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient are listed here.

Drugs side effects can be found here.

Find Drugs by Disease or Condition here.Seventy million people suffer from sleep disorders. Find out about how these treatments can help. If sleepless nights are affecting your sex life, check out here.

If sleepless nights are affecting your sex life, check here. 

For more information on different sleep medication please click here.


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