New Sleep Medication Might Make You Feel Groggy the Next Day

A new sleep new sleep medication might help you nod off a few minutes faster and stay asleep a bit longer. But it also might make you feel groggy the next day. The pill is called Quviviq and it’s been approved by federal regulators for treating insomnia in adults. It comes from Swiss drugmaker Idorsia (IDIA.S).

Unlike older insomnia medications, such as Sanofi’s Ambien (zolpidem) and Sunovion Pharmaceutical’s Lunesta (eszopiclone), the new pill works in a different way. It targets the brain’s sleep-wake cycle by blocking a neurotransmitter called orexin. Other sleep drugs, such as ramelteon (Rozerem), suppress the part of the central nervous system that keeps you awake. They can lead to next-day drowsiness that can increase your risk of car accidents and other injuries.

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The latest insomnia medication, Belsomra (suvorexant), from Merck, is in a class of drugs that block orexin. In studies, it has helped people with insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than placebos without causing drowsiness the next day. But the FDA rejected high doses of the pill because they raised the risk of next-day drowsiness to a dangerous level.

Rutgers researchers think they know why that happens. They have shown that orexin production in the brain is increased by many drugs of abuse, and they’ve demonstrated that orexin-blocking sleep medicines reduce drug cravings in animal studies. The findings, published in Biological Psychiatry in 2022, support their theory that these medicines can be used to treat addiction as well as insomnia.