Study Finds Treatment of Insomnia with Controlled-Release Zolpidem Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Adults

Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
A study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry found a possible treatment for patients suffering severe insomnia with suicidal thoughts.

In the study, 103 participants (64 women and 39 men) were randomly assigned to receive zolpidem-CR hypnotic therapy or the placebo, in conjunction with an open-label selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The participants were medication-free with major depressive disorder, insomnia, and suicidal ideation between the ages of 18 to 65 years old.1

The participants each kept a daily sleep diary during their treatment experience to note the severity of their insomnia each night. The frequency and intensity of distorted thoughts and disturbing nightmares were also measured by a wrist device that tracked their rest and activity cycles.2

Participants who took the sleep aid showed significant, long-term improvement in their insomnia, with a greater reduction in suicidal thoughts as the most prevalent result. The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) indicated that zolpidem-CR had a significant treatment effect. There was a larger reduction in suicidal thoughts in patients who experienced more severe insomnia. No deaths or suicides were attempted during the duration of the study.1,2

The study concludes that the co-prescription of a hypnotic while using an anti-depressant may be beneficial for patients with suicidal thoughts, especially in patients with insomnia.1

 
References
  1. McCall WV, Benca RM, Rosenquist PB, et al. Reducing suicidal ideation through insomnia treatment (REST-IT): a randomized clinical trial. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2019. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19030267.
  2. Sleeping pills reduce suicidal thoughts in patients with severe insomnia. EurekAlert! Website. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/mcog-spr092719.php. Published September 30, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2019.



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