Esmirtazapine in non-elderly adult patients with primary insomnia: efficacy and safety from a randomized, 6-week sleep laboratory trial.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: Esmirtazapine (Org 50081), a medication that binds with high affinity to serotonin 5-HT2A and histamine-1 receptors, was evaluated as a potential treatment for insomnia. METHODS: Adults with primary insomnia were treated with esmirtazapine (3.0 or 4.5 mg) or placebo in this 6-week, double-blind, randomized, polysomnography (PSG) study. The end points included wake time after sleep onset (WASO) (primary), latency to persistent sleep, and total sleep time. Patient-reported parameters were also evaluated, including sleep quality and satisfaction with sleep duration. Residual daytime effects and rebound insomnia (sleep parameters during the single-blind placebo run-out week after treatment ended) were also assessed. RESULTS: Overall, 419 patients were randomized and 366 (87%) completed treatment. The median decrease in PSG WASO (double-blind average) was 20.5 min for placebo, and 52.0 min and 53.6 min for the 3.0- and 4.5-mg esmirtazapine groups, respectively (P < 0.0001 vs. placebo for both doses). Changes in the other PSG parameters and in all patient-reported parameters were also statistically significant with both doses versus placebo. Overall, 35-42% of esmirtazapine-treated patients had adverse events (AEs) versus 29% in the placebo group. AEs were mild or moderate in most esmirtazapine-treated patients. Furthermore, the incidence of AEs leading to discontinuation was low (<8%). CONCLUSIONS: Six weeks of treatment with esmirtazapine was associated with consistent improvements in objective and patient-reported parameters of sleep onset, maintenance, and duration. It was generally well tolerated, and residual daytime effects were minimal and no rebound insomnia was observed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ivgy-May, N; Ruwe, F; Krystal, A; Roth, T

Published Date

  • July 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 838 - 844

PubMed ID

  • 26047892

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26047892

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-5506

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.04.001


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands