HealthDay News — Suvorexant improves total sleep time (TST) in patients with probable Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia and insomnia, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

W. Joseph Herring, M.D., Ph.D., from Merck & Co., in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and colleagues randomly assigned patients with both probable AD dementia and insomnia to four weeks of suvorexant 10 mg (136 patients; could be increased to 20 mg based on clinical response) or placebo (141 patients). Overnight polysomnography in a sleep laboratory was used to assess TST.

The researchers found that at week 4, the mean improvement from baseline in TST was 73 minutes for the suvorexant group and 45 minutes for the placebo group. Patients taking suvorexant were twice as likely to show an improvement of ≥60 minutes in TST compared with those taking placebo. In suvorexant-treated patients, somnolence was reported by 4.2 percent of participants versus 1.4 percent of placebo-treated patients.

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“Suvorexant did not appear to impair next-day cognitive or psychomotor performance as assessed by objective tests, although these assessments do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of cognition,” the authors write.


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Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, which manufactures suvorexant and funded the study.

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