CNS Depressant Effects And Daytime Impairment BELSOMRA is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that can impair daytime wakefulness even when used as prescribed. Prescribers should monitor for somnolence and CNS depressant effects, but impairment can occur in the absence of symptoms, and may not be reliably detected by ordinary clinical exam (i.e., less than formal testing of daytime wakefulness and/or psychomotor performance). CNS depressant effects may persist in some patients for up to several days after discontinuing BELSOMRA. BELSOMRA can impair driving skills and may increase the risk of falling asleep while driving. Discontinue or decrease the dose in patients who drive if daytime somnolence develops. In a study of healthy adults, driving ability was impaired in some individuals taking 20 mg BELSOMRA [see Clinical Studies]. Although pharmacodynamic tolerance or adaptation to some adverse depressant effects of BELSOMRA may develop with daily use, patients using the 20 mg dose of BELSOMRA should be cautioned against next-day driving and other activities requiring full mental alertness. Patients taking lower doses of BELSOMRA should also be cautioned about the potential for driving impairment because there is individual variation in sensitivity to BELSOMRA. Co-administration with other CNS depressants (e.g., benzodiazepines, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, alcohol) increases the risk of CNS depression. Patients should be advised not to consume alcohol in combination with BELSOMRA because of additive effects [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Dosage adjustments of BELSOMRA and of concomitant CNS depressants may be necessary when administered together because of potentially additive effects. The use of BELSOMRA with other drugs to treat insomnia is not recommended [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. The risk of next-day impairment, including impaired driving, is increased if BELSOMRA is taken with less than a full night of sleep remaining, if a higher than the recommended dose is taken, if co-administered with other CNS depressants, or if co-administered with other drugs that increase blood levels of BELSOMRA. Patients should be cautioned against driving and other activities requiring complete mental alertness if BELSOMRA is taken in these circumstances. Need To Evaluate For Co-morbid Diagnoses Because sleep disturbances may be the presenting manifestation of a physical and/or psychiatric disorder, treatment of insomnia should be initiated only after careful evaluation of the patient. The failure of insomnia to remit after 7 to 10 days of treatment may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. Worsening of insomnia or the emergence of new cognitive or behavioral abnormalities may be the result of an unrecognized underlying psychiatric or physical disorder, and can emerge during the course of treatment with hypnotic drugs such as BELSOMRA. Abnormal Thinking And Behavioral Changes A variety of cognitive and behavioral changes (e.g., amnesia, anxiety, hallucinations and other neuropsychiatric symptoms) have been reported to occur in association with the use of hypnotics such as BELSOMRA. Complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after taking a hypnotic) and other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex), with amnesia for the event, have been reported in association with the use of hypnotics. These events can occur in hypnotic-naïve as well as in hypnotic-experienced persons. The use of alcohol and other CNS depressants may increase the risk of such behaviors. Discontinuation of BELSOMRA should be strongly considered for patients who report any complex sleep behavior. Worsening Of Depression/Suicidal Ideation In clinical studies, a dose-dependent increase in suicidal ideation was observed in patients taking BELSOMRA as assessed by questionnaire. Immediately evaluate patients with suicidal ideation or any new behavioral sign or symptom. In primarily depressed patients treated with sedative-hypnotics, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions (including completed suicides) have been reported. Suicidal tendencies may be present in such patients and protective measures may be required. Intentional overdose is more common in this group of patients; therefore, the lowest number of tablets that is feasible should be prescribed for the patient at any one time. The emergence of any new behavioral sign or symptom of concern requires careful and immediate evaluation. Patients With Compromised Respiratory Function Effect of BELSOMRA on respiratory function should be considered if prescribed to patients with compromised respiratory function. BELSOMRA has not been studied in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [see Use in Specific Populations]. Sleep Paralysis, Hypnagogic/Hypnopompic Hallucinations, Cataplexy-like Symptoms Sleep paralysis, an inability to move or speak for up to several minutes during sleep-wake transitions, and hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations, including vivid and disturbing perceptions by the patient, can occur with the use of BELSOMRA. Prescribers should explain the nature of these events to patients when prescribing BELSOMRA. Symptoms similar to mild cataplexy can occur, with risk increasing with the dose of BELSOMRA. Such symptoms can include periods of leg weakness lasting from seconds to a few minutes, can occur both at night and during the day, and may not be associated with an identified triggering event (e.g., laughter or surprise). Patient Counseling Information Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide). Inform patients of the availability of a Medication Guide and instruct them to read the Medication Guide prior to initiating treatment and with each prescription refill. Review the BELSOMRA Medication Guide with every patient prior to initiation of treatment. CNS Depressant Effects and Next-Day Impairment Tell patients that BELSOMRA has the potential to cause next-day impairment, and that this risk is increased with higher doses or if dosing instructions are not carefully followed. Patients using the 20 mg dose should be cautioned against next-day driving and other activities requiring full mental alertness as this dose is associated with a higher risk of impaired driving. Patients taking lower doses should also be cautioned about the potential for driving impairment because there is individual variation in sensitivity to BELSOMRA. Patients should not drive or engage in other activities requiring full alertness within 8 hours of dosing of BELSOMRA. Sleep-driving and Other Complex Behaviors Instruct patients to inform their families that BELSOMRA has been associated with getting out of bed while not being fully awake, and tell patients and their families to call their healthcare providers if this occurs. Hypnotics, like BELSOMRA, have been associated with “sleep-driving” and other complex behaviors while not being fully awake (preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex). Tell patients and their families to call their healthcare providers if they develop any of these symptoms. Suicide Tell patients to report any worsening of depression or suicidal thoughts immediately. Alcohol and Other Drugs Ask patients about alcohol consumption, prescription medicines they are taking, and drugs they may be taking without a prescription. Advise patients not to use BELSOMRA if they drank alcohol that evening or before bed. Tolerance, Abuse, and Dependence Tell patients not to increase the dose of BELSOMRA on their own, and to inform you if they believe the drug “does not work.” Administration Instructions Advise patients to take BELSOMRA only when preparing for or getting into bed and only if they can stay in bed for a full night before being active again. Advise patients to report all of their prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements to the prescriber. Nonclinical Toxicology Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility Carcinogenesis In a 26-week study in Tg.rasH2 mice, there was no evidence of suvorexant-induced neoplasms at oral doses of 25, 50, 200, and 650 mg/kg/day. In a 2-year study in rats (oral suvorexant doses of 80, 160, and 325 mg/kg/day), increases in thyroid (follicular cell adenoma and combined adenoma/carcinoma in high-dose females; follicular cell adenoma in mid- and high-dose males) and liver (hepatocellular adenoma in high-dose males) neoplasms were observed. These findings were consistent with increased TSH and hepatic enzyme induction, respectively, which are mechanisms believed to be rodent-specific. Plasma exposures (AUC) at doses not associated with drug-induced neoplasms in rats were approximately 7 times that in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 20 mg. Mutagenesis Suvorexant was negative in in vitro (bacterial reverse mutation and chromosomal aberration) and in vivo (mouse and rat micronucleus) assays. Impairment of Fertility In two separate studies, male and female rats were treated with suvorexant prior to and during mating and continuing in females to gestation day 7. Increases in peri-implantation loss and resorptions, resulting in a decrease in live fetuses, were observed at the highest doses tested (1200 or 325 mg/kg) when treated males and females were mated with untreated animals. At the no-effect dose for adverse effects on fertility in males and females, plasma AUCs were approximately 20 times that in humans at the MRHD. Use In Specific Populations Pregnancy Pregnancy Category C There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. BELSOMRA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Administration of suvorexant to pregnant rats throughout organogenesis in two separate studies at oral doses of 30, 150, and 1000 mg/kg or 30, 80, and 325 mg/kg resulted in a decrease in fetal body weight at doses greater than 80 mg/kg. Plasma exposures (AUC) at the no-effect dose were approximately 25 times that in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 20 mg/day. Administration of suvorexant to pregnant rabbits throughout organogenesis in two separate studies at oral doses of 40, 100, and 300 mg/kg or 50, 150, and 325 mg/kg resulted in no apparent adverse effects on embryo-fetal development. Excessive toxicity resulted in premature sacrifice of pregnant animals at 325 mg/kg. The highest maternal plasma exposures (AUC) for which there are fetal data were up to approximately 40 times that in humans at the MRHD. Administration of suvorexant (oral doses of 30, 80, and 200 mg/kg) to pregnant rats throughout gestation and lactation resulted in decreased body weight in offspring at the highest dose tested. Plasma AUCs at the no-effect dose were approximately 25 times that in humans at the MRHD. Nursing Mothers Suvorexant and a hydroxyl-suvorexant metabolite were excreted in rat milk at levels higher (9 and 1.5 times, respectively) than that in maternal plasma. It is not known whether this drug is secreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when BELSOMRA is administered to a nursing woman. Pediatric Use Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established. Geriatric Use Of the total number of patients treated with BELSOMRA (n=1784) in controlled clinical safety and efficacy studies, 829 patients were 65 years and over, and 159 patients were 75 years and over. No clinically meaningful differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients at the recommended doses [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and Clinical Studies]. Patients With Compromised Respiratory Function Effects of BELSOMRA on respiratory function should be considered if prescribed to patients with compromised respiratory function. Obstructive Sleep Apnea The respiratory depressant effect of BELSOMRA was evaluated after one night and after four consecutive nights of treatment in a randomized, placebo-controlled, 2-period crossover study in patients (n=26) with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Following once-daily doses of 40 mg, the mean Apnea/Hypopnea Index treatment difference (suvorexant – placebo) on Day 4 was 2.7 (90% CI: 0.22 to 5.09), but there was wide inter- and intra-individual variability such that clinically meaningful respiratory effects of BELSOMRA in obstructive sleep apnea cannot be excluded. BELSOMRA has not been studied in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease The respiratory depressant effect of BELSOMRA was evaluated after one night and after four consecutive nights of treatment in a randomized, placebo-controlled, 2-period crossover study in patients (n=25) with mild to moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). BELSOMRA (40 mg in non-elderly, 30 mg in elderly) had no respiratory depressant effects in patients with mild to moderate COPD, as measured by oxygen saturation. There was wide inter- and intra-individual variability such that clinically meaningful respiratory effects of BELSOMRA in COPD cannot be excluded. BELSOMRA has not been studied in patients with severe COPD [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Patients With Hepatic Impairment No dose adjustment is required in patients with mild and moderate hepatic impairment. BELSOMRA has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment and is not recommended for these patients [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Patients With Renal Impairment No dose adjustment is required in patients with renal impairment [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Last reviewed on RxList: 11/20/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.