Document Detail

Management of chronic insomnia in elderly persons.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16860264     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Chronic insomnia is common among the elderly These elderly patients are often viewed as difficult to treat, yet they are among the groups with the greatest need of treatment. OBJECTIVE: This article reviews the literature on the management of chronic insomnia in elderly persons. METHODS: A search of MEDLINE was conducted for articles published in English between January 1966 and March 2006 using the terms insomnia, behavioral therapy, estsazolsam, fluvsazepsam, qusazepsam, teMsazepsam, tvisazolsam, eszopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem, mirtazapine, nefazodone, trazodone, and ramelteon. Articles were selected if they were meta-analyses or evidence-based reviews of therapeutic modalities; randomized controlled trials of nonpharmacologic or pharmacologic treatment; or review articles covering the characteristics and management of insomnia. Preference was given to meta-analyses, evidence-based reviews, and articles that included relevant new information. RESULTS: Available options for the treatment of insomnia include nonpharmacologic approaches, foremost among them cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapies, including chloral hydrate, barbiturates, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription antihistamines, OTC dietary supplements (including melatonin), sedating antidepressants, benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics, and melatonin agonists. There is considerable evidence to support the effectiveness and durability of nonpharmacologic interventions for insomnia in adults of all ages, yet these interventions are underutilized. With some recent exceptions, the majority of identified studies of pharmacotherapy were of short duration (< or =6 weeks) and did not exclusively enroll older adults. Compared with the benzodiazepines, the nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics appeared to offer few, if any, significant clinical advantages in efficacy or tolerability in elderly persons. Newer agents with novel mechanisms of action and improved safety profiles, such as the melatonin agonists, hold promise for the management of chronic insomnia in elderly people. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term use of sedative-hypnotics for insomnia lacks an evidence base and has traditionally been discouraged for reasons that include concerns about such potential adverse drug effects as cognitive impairment (anterograde amnesia), daytime sedation, motor incoordination, and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and falls. In addition, the effectiveness and safety of long-term use of these agents remain to be determined. More research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of treatment and the most appropriate management strategy for elderly persons with chronic insomnia.
Kevin T Bain
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of geriatric pharmacotherapy     Volume:  4     ISSN:  1543-5946     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Geriatr Pharmacother     Publication Date:  2006 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-07-24     Completed Date:  2006-11-14     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101190325     Medline TA:  Am J Geriatr Pharmacother     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  168-92     Citation Subset:  IM    
excelleRx, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Chronic Disease
Cognitive Therapy
Dietary Supplements
Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage,  adverse effects,  therapeutic use
Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use
Patient Education as Topic
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Relaxation Therapy
Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis,  drug therapy,  therapy*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hypnotics and Sedatives; 0/Nonprescription Drugs

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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