Newer hypnotics no better for insomnia than short acting benzodiazepines

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 06 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1093
  1. Liza Gibson
  1. London

    The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidance to the NHS recommending that hypnotic drugs be used for severe insomnia only for short periods and only after non-pharmacological measures have been considered.

    Non-pharmacological treatments include cognitive behaviour therapy and relaxation techniques and avoiding stimulants (such as coffee) before bedtime.

    NICE does not distinguish between newer hypnotics known as Z drugs (zaleplon, zolpidem, and zopiclone) and short acting benzodiazepines such as loprazolam, lorazepam, lormetazepam and temazepam—recommending that the drug with the “lowest purchase cost” be chosen.

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    Severe insomnia, like that experienced by Tom Wilkinson in …

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