The story is based around the frightening increase in use of anti-psychotics for insomnia – in Australia part of this has been the largely media driven beat-up about the risks of existing hypnotics especially zolpidem.
The key messages of the article were that –
1. Anti-psychotics such as Seroquel (quetiapine), Zyprexa (olanzapine) or Risperidal (risperidone) or similar brands are not agents that should be used in patients with insomnia unless there is a very good reason. These drugs have not been properly evaluated in patients with insomnia without severe mental illness
2. Adverse effects are potentially dangerous to cardiovascular and other health
3. Dose escalation may occur worsening risks of side-effects
4. Insomnia and its cause needs to be evaluated properly in each patient – our clinic has seen patients with delayed sleep phase treated with anti-psychotics, elderly with sleep length misperception placed on these drugs etc.
The AFR ran a short video attached to the story
Professor Ron Grunstein is a Sleep Disorder Specialist based in Sydney, who consults at the Woolcock Clinic and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and undertakes research at the Woolcock Institute, University of Sydney.