Sleep Medication

Insomnia Medications

Types of Drugs Helpful to Treat Insomnia

Medicating sleeplessness has become an ongoing, if inexact, science spanning hundreds of years. Greeks and Romans used valerian and St. John’s wort in order to fight off insomnia and those herbal remedies are in use still. But modern medicine has seen fit to build up a slew of potent drugs and medications targeted at curing insomnia.

Types of insomnia meds include:

  • Prescription sleeping tablets – like Ambien, Lunesta and Rozerem
  • Non-prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids – such as Unisom and Sominex
  • OTC antihistamines – like Benadryl which has diphenhydramine
  • Anti-depressants – such as amitriptyline and trazodone that do better jobs of inducing sleep.

Prescription Sleep Aids as Medication for Insomnia issues

Today’s battery of prescription sleep aids includes among them some of the most widely prescribed meds for sleeping disorders. Drugs like Ambien, Rozerem, Lunesta, and Restoril all belong either to the family of benzodiazepines or non-benzodiazepines and are useful for short-term durations. These potent medications in many cases are fast-acting, with brief half-lives making them very useful for treating sleep onset insomnia as well as middle-waking insomnia. They must be taken under careful medical doctor supervision, come with an index of side effects and may become habit forming if used long-term. But most provide precisely the boost most short-term insomnia sufferers need to get their sleep cycle back on course.

OTC Sleep Medications

Non-prescription sleep aids like brand-names Unisom and Sominex, as well as a number of popular antihistamines, like Benadryl as well as Genahist, feature the active component diphenhydramine an antihistamine that’s also found to be a sleep inducing medication. These are handy and affordable for short-term, transient insomnia. They are relatively convenient to use and have fewer unwanted effects than their prescription counterparts.

Anti-depressants as Insomnia Medications

Doctors discovered a while ago that several anti-depressants could additionally make excellent treatment options for insomnia. This off-label use isn’t approved by the FDA, and plenty of sleep specialists as well as psychiatrists rail against the practice. However, because most of the prescription sleep aids are just approved for short-term usage, doctors are quick to defer to drugs such as the anti-depressants trazodone and amitriptyline for their long-term applications within insomnia treatment.

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