Belsomra – use with caution

I posted about Belsomra (suvorexant), the newest sleeping pill to hit the market, a few months ago. At that time, it wasn’t available to buy yet. Now it is.

As I predicted, it’s expensive, although not quite as costly as I thought it might be. According to GoodRx, a 30-day supply of 10mg tablets in my area code will cost on average $275.

Generic Ambien—zolpidem—costs about $30.

Belsomra works differently in the brain than Ambien or Lunesta. Will it work better? Hard to know, since there have been no studies directly comparing the efficacy of Belsomra with the other two popular sleeping prescriptions.

If you think you might want to try it, or your physician suggests it, keep two things in mind.

  1. There is a good chance the cost will not be covered by your insurance. At this time, Belsomra is not included in the two largest PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) drug lists or formularies. View the 2015 list for Express Scripts and CVS/caremark. The PBM is the middle man between the pharmceutical companies and the insurance companies. As the insurance companies double down on cutting costs, they are dropping more expensive, name brand drugs from their lists. Check with your insurance company!
  2. New drugs can have a poor history of safety that leads to frequent recalls. Why? Becaused the initial studies are based on small numbers of subjects. As more people take the new drug, more side effects and adverse reactions are recognized. That’s why I advocate the “Seven-Year Rule”; don’t take a drug that hasn’t been on the market for at least 7 years.

A reader contacted me recently about his experience with Belsomra. He has suffered from sleep problems for many years, but neither Ambien nor Lunesta worked for him. He was hopeful that Belsomra, because it works differently, would provide some relief.

He paid $170 out of pocket for a month’s supply because his insurance did not cover it.

This is what he told me:

I know each person’s reaction to a drug is different, but here is my experience. In one word- hell. It did exactly the opposite of its intended purpose. I was up the entire night, and not in the way my insomnia usually manifests. 10 mg tablet, thirty minutes before my regular bedtime , as directed.  Eyes wide open all night. Mentally agitated. Today, poor motor skills, heightened aggression (I am not typically remotely aggressive by nature), confusion, disrupted verbal skills.

He reported his bad reaction to the FDA, and they followed up with him.

If you have a bad reaction to any drug, prescription or over-the-counter, you can and should report it to the FDA. Go to my Resources page for a link to to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

Insomnia and other sleep disturbances can be debilitating, I know, and so difficult to treat. Belsomra, like Ambien and Lunesta before it, will be aggressively marketed as the answer to your prayers. Pharmaceutical companies always oversell the benefits and understate the risks of their drugs.

Will Belsomra help someone? I hope so. But manage your expectations and use it with caution.

Sláinte,

Frugal Nurse

Related books and sleep aids:

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Comments

Belsomra – use with caution — 56 Comments

  1. Hey, I just had an experience with my fiancée last night. She is on Belsomra 20 mg tablets, we had fallen asleep watching a movie, I woke up saw she was rubbing her eyes and it looked to me as if her eyes were open because I saw light reflecting from them. So I tried to make a move, but she freaked out saying she was asleep. . . It had me confused cause I saw the light reflecting from the tv in her eyes so I thought she was watching tv. Granted, I should have said her name to make sure, but if you are asleep your eyes would be closed wouldn’t they be? This has me worried also because she has a V.P. Shunt.. She was like that before in the hospital having her eyes open but she wouldn’t respond to me saying her name, and the doctor had to pinch her arm very hard to get her aware and come to find out she had a malfunctioning shunt..

  2. I have tried Belsomra and I doze off for an hour if I am lucky. My brain does NOT shut off and insomnia is even worse. The doctor added trazadone to no avail. If I have Benadryl along with them..if I take four, I usually am able to sleep for 6 hours, again, if lucky. Do you have any idea the insanity that comes when you don’t sleep for 14 days? Or more? I guess that is the reason why sleep deprivation is used in torture.

  3. I have had severe insomnia related to PTSD most of my life. Now I have RLS and am going through menopause and have hot flashes which seem to be triggered by the RLS!
    The Belsomra helped at the 20mg dose for the first time! I’m worried about it being hard on the kidneys since I am recently diagnosed with CKD (chronic kidney disease). Is it a bad idea to take it?

    • Hi Helene, thanks for the comment. I can really empathize with your RLS and hot flashes! I’m glad Belsomra seems to be working for you. Belsomra is metabolized by the liver, not the kidneys. According to Merck, the dose does not need to be adjusted in people with renal disease. HOWEVER, as I said in the post, you must remember that these new-to-market drugs don’t have long safety track records. Stay in touch with the prescribing doctor to monitor how Belsomra is working for you, and let him/her know if you experience any unusual side effects. Good luck, FN

      • Hi, as a chronic insomnia sufferer, I would like to weigh in on the debate here. I have used ambien, lunesta and benadryl. I was concerned about dependency on the ambien, though it worked fairly well for me, so my doctor prescribed the Belsomra.
        I tried it three nights. It caused me to be up every 30 minutes to urinate. It caused pain in both of my kidneys. I would never take this if I had renal disease. It did not help me to sleep at the lower dose or even triple the dose, and I felt terrible the next day. Depressed, exhausted. This is the worst sleep med I have ever tried. Don’t waste your money.

  4. I’ve had chronic insomnia for years. I’ve tried Ambien, Trazadone, Melatonin, Nyquil and every OTC/herbal I could find. I’ve taken Belsomra in the 5mg and 20mg doses. The 5mg had no effect. The 20 makes me sleep longer with less wake ups. Occasionally, I’ll sleep through the entire night which I never do on my own. I think a lot of the disappointment is that Belsomra doesn’t make you sleep quickly. Ambien would shut me down immediately but I would wake up after about a hour. Seems like the usual time for me to get sleepy using Belsomra is about 45 minutes to an hour. Overall, it improves my sleep and, in my case, no side effects. I’ve had some weird dreams but not complaining because I was asleep at 4am..for a change.

  5. I took belsoma 5 mg for the first time last night. I still have confusion and forgetfulness. The main problem is can I be allergic to it. I’ve had this reaction once 26 years ago after giving birth to my last son. My mouth is twisted to the side and it’s like I’m trying to suck from a baby bottle. Is this normal?

    • I wound up taking a couple of benadryl. Last time it happened in wound up in e.r. and they gave me a shot of benadryl. Also…….I did get a fever of 102.3 with it.
      The only other medications that I took were my normal ones. I.e. I’m item because I thought I was having a migraine from it. Other than that I took verapamil and pantoprazol which I’ve taken nightly with no problem.

      • Hi Cheryl, I certainly don’t know enough about the adverse effects of Belsomra to hazard an opinion. I would suggest, however, that you make a report to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program. If enough people report a problem similar to yours, it might lead to modifying Belsomra’s warning label. Take care, FN

  6. As a veteran pharmacist of 23 years and a 2 year Medical School student i can tell you that the Orexin receptor antagonist has not delivered on its most interesting theory. The drug did eventually put me to sleep (15mg) after 3 hours, but I had a “hangover” the next day and I could not drive. Moreover even a day later I question whether I have full consciousness back.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience. Falling asleep after 3 hours sounds more like in spite of Belsomra rather than because of it! I haven’t been able to find any updates on the effectiveness/safety of Belsomra. But if it isn’t working as well as promised, Merck wouldn’t be anxious to share that news. I do worry that many people are prescribed this or other psych drugs without really understanding the possible risks and weighing those against any benefit. Again, thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you feel back to normal soon! Best, FN

    • Here is my problem with Belsomra. I am a 50 year old male – 6′ 2” 190lbs. I am currently prescribed the 20mg dosage and it seems to work okay some of the time. By accident I doubled dosed one evening – 40mg – and had the best sleep of my life. Woke up refreshed after eight hours of sleep and had great energy and alertness the entire day. I feel I need a higher dosage for it to work for me.

  7. Does anyone know how this drug affects the liver as I have PBC and am concerned.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Anita, thanks for your comment. According to the PDR (physician’s desk reference, the prescribing bible) Belsomra is approved for use with mild liver impairment, but shouldn’t be used if you have more severe liver disease. And here is another link to Belsomra and it’s affect on the liver, which does appear to be mild. That said, everyone reacts a little differently to meds, so if you take Belsomra just work closely with your physician to monitor your liver functions. Cheers, FN

  8. I have had a sleep disorder for years, so I’ve tried pretty much everything out there, including CPAP and later surgery. No more apnea, but still not sleeping through the night. Ambien CR worked for me, without weird side effects, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I never remembered dreaming, and now that I’m off of it, I wonder if it wasn’t dulling my ability to store things to long-term memory all this time. Not quite a year and a half ago, I had a mild TBI, and my sleep problems worsened. This exacerbated problems due to the head injury. On top of that the benzodiazepine-related hypnotics (including Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata) are not safe for people who have had a TBI. Melatonin isn’t enough, and Rozerem did nothing (it is safe, just didn’t work). As a last resort, I tried samples of Belsomra. I started with 5 mg, and when that didn’t work, I went up to 10 mg. It doesn’t help me get sleepy, so I take a little melatonin and magnesium l-threonate for that. But the Belsomra is doing the trick so far! If I wake up, I fall right back to sleep. I am dreaming again. Because I’m getting restorative sleep, my mood, concentration, and overall ‘sharpness’ is noticeably improved. I read negative patient reviews and was skeptical. But after doing a lot of research on PubMed and talking about it with my doctors, we decided to give it a go. I am very pleasantly surprised. My insurance doesn’t cover it, either, but I’m filing an appeal. I don’t want to give up this improvement. Despite the marketing of the drug companies, the medical community needs to remember that not everyone reacts the same way to things, and the cheapest drugs may not only not work, they may be harmful. Before you dive in to a pricey prescription, ask for a sample and try it over a weekend, when you don’t have to get up early and go to work or school. Start with the lowest dose, too. I know they tested it all the way up to 40 mg, but I’m doing way fine with 10.

  9. I am 73 yrs old and just started taking Belsomra. I cut a 10 mg tablet into thirds so I am taking about 3-4 mg. I have intermittent severe insomnia (0-3 hrs sleep on a bad night), and only take it when I cannot sleep for a couple of hrs after going to bed. So far the tiny dose is working well–I sleep and feel rested next day. Did have one short non-scary hallucination and a nasty nightmare.

  10. I have been on Ambien CR for a little over 7 years… Lately I noticed a slow but progressive problem getting to sleep.

    I spoke to my Doctor, and we decided to try Belsomra 10mg. 1st dose last night… Ugh… moderate headache, dizzy (like too much to drink, put your foot on the ground to stop the spinning), and not so much as 1 wink of sleep.. Its now 2pm, I’m so tired, but still nothing..

    I’m worried that so many of you say the side effects only got worse. I am just off Warfarin after an unexplained incident of Blood Clots in my lungs. I have been poked, prodded, enough CT’s and MRI’s to glow in the dark with no answers.. Kinda afraid that I’m going to make things worse???

    Anyone have opinions??

  11. Took 10 mg. of Belsomra for the first time. Not only did not get to sleep but I had terrible nightmares. Almost from the minute that I took it my chest hurts and burns and I have such pains in my stomach. I am 72 so I hope the this will go away as it is very painful.
    I will never take this drug again. So much pain.

  12. I have numerous pain conditions including fibromyalgia and spondylolethesis L5-S1. Ambien, Lunesta, trazadone, etc do not work for me. They work in reverse. I tried to fill the 10mg Belsormra rx. Insurance didn’t cover it. I have both medicare and medicaid. Out of pocket cost was $370! Then I saw they have a 10 pill trial. Took it once.Never again. I felt drunk the next day, had to cancel my appointments. Two nights later and I still have side effects.

  13. I have been taking a very mild dose of Xanax when I go to bed because I too have insomnia and have tried many things ambien made me sleep walk, trazadone gave me headache, so when I went in for my refills the PA decides I need to try something else, am 71 yrs. old go to the gym, up every morning at about 6, I don’t get dizzy or sleepy during the day. I tried Belsomra two nights got a headache, felt like I couldn’t move, got dizzy when I got up, and just felt totally sluggish the next day. I am calling my doctor tomorrow, and tell him I haven’t slept for two nights, I will never take Belsomra again. At my age I believe I know my body and my body’s reaction to meds. better than the doctors do, if I can get up early and feel fine with my Xanax I want it back, I get on the treadmill and do not get dizzy. I don’t get sleep during the day because I sleep so well at night. I wish they would have tried this medicine out more, before releasing it to the public, also there was a lady at doctors selling pharmaceuticals and I too that’s why they were pushed on me.

  14. There is a free trial offer on the Belsomra website, good for a 10-day supply.
    http://www.belsomra.com/free-trial-offer/.
    Also, there are coupons to make it available for $1 to $3 tablet, but that is still a max of 12 prescriptions and $2400 cap, if your insurance will pick up some of it.
    Belsomra worked for me, but the cost is prohibitive, so I am trying other options.

    • The free 10-day trial AND the discounts expire today! I’ve been trying to get the 10-day trial deal, but my Dr office people are lax in getting Doc to reissue his original 30-count RX as a 10-count as the TRIAL offer requires. This stuff will cost me $11 each, even via WalMart Pharmacy. Already taken zolpidem for 4 yrs, but not as effective any more [6.5 hrs of sleep on a “better” night].

  15. I am wanting to try belsomra 10mg for severe insomnia. I do have fibromyalgia and am wondering if I should still get the prescription filled. I have tried so many things for insomnia and none of them have worked. Lunesta, trazadone, ambien, they have all failed. I just started taking melatonin tonight 10mg and am still awake. I am really hoping belsomra will work for me since the others did not. My doctor wanted me to try the 5mg but no pharmacy where I live carries it. So I asked for the 10mg but my insurance does not want to pay for it. May have to pay on my own. One thing I am concerned about is that I am on some pretty heavy medications. Percocet, cymbalta, Buspar, Latuda, and Zyrtec which makes you drowsy already. Does anybody know if their is any kind of reaction? I did read where somebody wrote in and said that people with fibromyalgia as I have should not take belsomra. Is that true? I also read on the belsomra website that if you are overweight, you are more likely to have severe side effects. I am of average weight, not skinny, but am still hoping that’s not true. Thanks for all your answers in advance. Always, Laura

  16. I know not everyone reads the instructions on how to take this medication, but keep in mind that Belsomra should be taken on an empty stomach. If you eat a meal or even a snack before you take it, the effect is lessened.
    Just keep that in mind before you post that it doesn’t work and just ate a bologna sandwich before taking it. 🙂

  17. I have taken Trazadone for awhile and I only sleep for 2 to 3 hours a night, so I ask the doctor for something else and he started me on Belsomra 10 mg. I will try it for the first time tonight and I will let you know how I slept and felt the next day.

  18. I just started taking belsomra 4 nights ago.
    I got samples packs from my doctor.
    I used 10mg for the first 3 nights, although it took over an hour to kick in, I slept very well and woke up feeling rested (without the hangover effects I got from zolpidem )
    Tonight is my first night taking 15mg. And I hope my experience is a good one.

  19. First night (and last) on Belsorma (15mg), just awful. I am typing this at 4:45 in the morning after taking drug at 11 p.m. Initial response upon taking this nightmarish drug was heavy head..I laid down & couldn’t sleep for 2 hrs…got up and I feel my heart beating faster, feel like I want to jump out of my skin. Laid down again and felt worse. I’m a nervous wreck and feeling pent up…I have never had such an extreme reaction to any drug. Back to Lorazepam for me. Thank god I didn’t try this stuff on a work night. I’m just waiting for the worst of this to wear off…..be careful with this stuff!

  20. I’ve been using belsomra since it came to market early this year and it’s helped so much. Ambien & other sleep aids, for me, *if* they work, I’m asleep for 5 hours, tops, and then wake suddenly and can’t fall back to sleep. Belsomra has had no side effects (that I know about!) and while it doesn’t make me sleepy (nothing does…) I do fall asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the pillow, and sleep for a good 8-9 hours. I’m hoping this reaction stays…ambien used to work for me but it was always a 6 hour sleep, now I just stay awake and if I sleep, still am done once the 5 hour mark hits.

  21. I have had middle of the night waking up, have been on trazadone for yrs. I dont get results from it so doctor gives me belsomra. I have has hostility and aggitation to a great degree. I am not taking anymore as of tonight, hopefully these side effects will leave, it is not my nature to be like this. I say Beware and be careful.

    • Hi Lois, thanks for commenting and sharing your experience. I’ve seen others have the same negative effects you describe, so yes people should be cautious and aware of possible bad reactions. Take care, FN

  22. As many of you, I have been on Ambien for years and thought a change might be for the better with Belsomra 10 mg. As instructed I took 1/2 a Xanax 1 hour prior to bedtime then one 10 mg Belsomra. The first night was very scary. Just before nodding off I experienced odd ringing sounds not in my ears but inside my head…I seemed to lose the ability to move my arms and legs and wanted to cry out but could not. I felt entombed inside my own body….my mind fully active and aware, but my body non responsive. Sleep was intermittent and not restful. With reluctance I will go ahead and finished the 10 day free trial, days 2-6 have been unsuccessful in seeking sleep with 10 mg Belsomra…I will take 15mg tonight and hope for better results….if not its back to Ambien.

  23. So, glad I found this. I was going to ask my doctor for a sample, but after reading it I’ll just stick to my ambien. After reading this, that medicine scares me.

    • Good idea. I’ve been on Ambien for 5 ears and last night I tried Belsombra for the first time (my doctor gave me samples)I didn’t sleep a wink after taking 20mgs. I’m glad it didn’t work for me because I could never afford it. I’ll be going back to my Ambien tonight.

  24. My Dr. Gave me a free sample of Belsomra yesterday. Last night I took 10mg. Although it took about two hours to fall asleep I actually stayed asleep. Tonight I took 10 mg and nothing, three hours later I took 10 mg more. I’m feeling reply tired now (thank gosh) however, I have Lupus and from the other ladies comment I’m scared to take this medication, I don’t want to harm my kidneys anymore than they are already damaged. I like the medication though 🙂

  25. After reading all these comments I’m not willing to be a guinea pig. I just of switched to Lunesta after taking Ambien 5mg for middle of the night waking. I have been taking Ambien 12.5 CR for awhile now but decided that it was time to make a switch. I had taken Lunesta 3 mg about 7 year ago and it worked but Ambien 12.5 works much better so I think I’m going to go back to it after I finish the months supply. I had been considering Belsomra until I read all these comments and to be frank, it scared me. I have Crohns and EPI (exocrine pancreatic insuffiency) and when my daughter, who is 20 now, was born my liver and kidneys were shutting down because she was taken 3 months early so my liver and kidneys can shut down again. I agree with the 7 year rule. Anyone considering Belsomra please be careful

    • Hi Suzanne, thanks for sharing your story. An abundance of caution is prudent with these new drugs, especially if you have other health concerns. Good luck treating your insomnia. FN

  26. I’m glad I found your site! I also am a RN/Paramedic, for the last 20 years I’ve been a Hospice/Palliative Nurse. I’ve suffered with insomnia since I can remember. RLS just gets worse as I age. I’ve tried just about everything except GHB, I haven’t tried BELSOMRA yet, but am looking forward to seeing if it works. Everyone is so different, as you all have eluded to, so what works for one doesn’t always work for anyone else. What I find that works best for RLS is Tramadol, doses can vary daily. Just like pain, insomnia is such a broad spectrum of neurophysiology, everyone, regardless of age, must be assessed and treated individually. I know plenty of elderly and fibromyalgi pts that are managed very well, nociceptively and neuropathically, on some of the least likely medications.

  27. Took 1 Belsomra 10 mg 2 nights ago…still unable to function lightheaded, dizziness, chills, headache. 1 pill…. will never take another..hoping tomorrow side effects will be gone

  28. Over the years I have taken Melatonin, Trazodone, Restoril, and Ambien. As with most drugs like this, they become less effective over time, which is what happened with the Trazodone and the Ambien (Melatonin caused hallucinations and Restoril didn’t work). My doctor prescribed me Belsomra 10mg a month ago and it’s changed my life. I love it and can’t imagine life without it. I live in Oklahoma and have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I pay $80 out of pocket for it. It’s important that I disclose that I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Chronic Migraines. As such, I have a pretty high tolerance to sedatives. I’ve taken the Belsomra with 10mg of Lortab and still not been knocked out, just lulled into a deep, restful sleep. Currently, I take the Belsomra with 10mg of Baclofen and it works perfectly, even allowing me to sleep through the neck pain that was keeping me awake for days on end. This medication probably isn’t the best choice for people that haven’t tried absolutely everything else, but for me, it was the right choice. It has been a godsend for me.

    • Thank you for your comment. I have several of the same conditions as you and am a little nervous about trying this medicine. I got a 20mg sample from my doctor today. I just don’t want that “hung over” feeling the next morning that I’ve experienced with other medication such as trazadone. I just hate that it isn’t covered by insurance and the out of pocket cost is so high. Hoping I get good results 🙂

  29. I started taking Belsomra almost as soon as it became available. I was lucky to have a doctor who had discount script cards so it was only $30/month for me. I’ve taken Ambien CR for years with excellent results. At times I had to stop taking it for a couple of weeks so it would work again, but I was okay with that. The Belsomra didn’t work real great for me, but did help me sleep a bit with many times of waking up during the night. I found the 12 hour half life was a bit of a problem. I’ve been a very early riser for years but the Belsomra seemed to really kick in around 7 am and I slept fairly well until 9-10 am with minimal fog after some coffee. The problem for me started after I had been on 20 mg for a couple months. Suddenly I didn’t feel well and I was achy in my bones, joints and muscles. We did some blood work and my levels were very highly dangerous levels. I went to the doc again today to try to figure out what the problem was. While I was in the waiting room I noticed people with fibromyalgia had been disqualified for the studies of Belsomra before the FDA approved it. Now I know why. My kidneys were shutting down. My liver was behaving as though I had chirrohsis, I am not a drinker at all. The conclusion is the Belsomra should never be taken by people with Osteo or Fibro. My doc changed up a couple meds and I’ll go back in a couple weeks to see what my labs say at that time, but he is going to go through all the red tape to get more info on this from Merck and hopefully put out a warning about this. Good luck to those able to use it. I do understand insomnia very well and the need to get a good night’s sleep. Just be careful and be sure to read about a med before you agree to try it. I wish I had done this.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes, ALWAYS know the risks and benefits of drugs. And expect to be a guinea pig if you take a drug that is new to the market. Drug studies use surprisingly few patients to test new drugs, so it’s only after it’s prescribed to thousands of patients that some of these bad effects become apparent. Good luck treating your insomnia. FN

      • I think the reason my doc prescribed Belsomra was because the sales lady had just come in to tell him about it while I was there. I was definitely s Guinea pig. My pharmacist wasn’t happy with this change and was adamant I shouldn’t take it. He didn’t really know why he said that at the time, but after this last doc visit I went in to let him know about the clinical trials. He now can be aware of anybody else with my condition comes in with that script. Meds are scary sometimes.

    • Many thanks for the warnings!

      I’ve found that 15 mg of Belsomra negatively reacts with just about everything taken with it, whether nutriceutical or pharmaceutical, but seems ok if taken without anything else (and I mean *anything*).

      I have some questions for you, though:

      1) You said that “We did some blood work and my levels were very highly dangerous levels.” High levels of what things, exactly?

      2) You said that “Belsomra should never be taken by people with Osteo or Fibro.” By “Osteo,” did you mean osteo-arthritis?

      3) In your opinion, why should Belsomra not be taken by people with those two conditions?

      Thanks in advance for your answers!

      • The high blood levels were potassium, calcium, sodium, alkaline phosphates and my ALT. The high levels caused my kidneys to start shutting down.
        Osteoporosis, yes. But I believe the concern is more for people with fibromyalgia. There was a good reason people with this diagnosis were excluded from the clinical trials.

        Apparently, Belsomra binds to the proteins in the liver and the kidneys and cannot be flushed out of your system. I can’t honestly say why or how this works in a person with fibromyalgia because I can’t find much about what happens between the drug and fibro. All I know is it almost killed me and in my desperation I researched every medication I take until I finally zeroed in on that information about the trials with Belsomra before it was FDA approved. My doctor is trying to find out more info and when he does I will pass it on here.

        • Hi..did anybody find out why/ how or by what mechanism Belsomra raises cholesterol? or why And if fibromyalgia patients were not included in the study?..also, there was no indication of adverse reactions as such to decrease dosage of drug because of kidney function.
          I am a patient /pharmacist who took Belsomra but discontinued because of headaches and finding out that it can increase cholesterol
          Thank you in advance!

          • Hi Deborah, suvorexant did show a dose-related increase in cholesterol in the phase II trials, but it wasn’t looked at in phase III. These studies were done on small numbers of patients, and they excluded anyone with significant co-morbidities. It will be years before there is enough evidence, mostly anecdotal, to support recommendations for using (or not) suvorexant in patients with fibromyalgia. Regarding suvorexant and CVD, this is an interesting link: New Insomnia Drugs in the Context of Cardiovascular Disease Cheers, FN

    • I am going through the muscle and deep bone pain after only taking 10 days of the belsorma. Fibromyalgia does run in my family, I have never had a issue with it until now. The belsorma has ruined what was my life . I was active, loved hiking, and on the go all of the time. I can barely function rightnow. I hurt so bad all of the time now , its effecting my job , not to mention trying to care for 5 children. Please be careful with this drug !!!!! I did not even sleep well while using it.

  30. I stared taking belsomra about 4 days ago. I have had sleep problems for as long as I can remember. I’ve done everything from Advil pm to ambien cr. The best one I’ve used is still ambien cr however after years of taking it I started having hallucinations ranging from seeing bugs coming at me or light patterns on my wall from my lighted charger to people who I assume are there to kill me. EXTREMELY SCARY!! My doctor said belsomra is new on the market and wanted me to try it. It didn’t do a thing hours after I had taken my night pills! Now my doctor wants me to try 15mg and the pills I have are 10 and I don’t know if the pills can be split. Does anyone know? I doubt it will have any effect!

  31. I really enjoyed reading BOTH of your posts on Belsomra … and especially since having bouts of insomnia and being a fellow nurse. Sleeping meds are such a mixed bag; some people need them so desperately and they do improve their quality of life, while some others abuse, and like my elderly father, are harmed by these meds.

    I would hate to live in a nanny-state and have everything forbidden and all we could do is drink camomile tea, meditate, pray and hope our insomnia away.

    Ambien is probably overused. Most people who are on it should probably half their dose. I still find Lunesta expensive … I always wonder what great insurance some people have that Lunesta is affordable and/or cheap for them — my CVS, well, it’s still about $10 a pill — no thanks! That’s too much money for me personally to spend.

    When I was younger and had some SEVERE insomnia Ambien did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Now I’m older, having restless legs and menopause sh*tty sleep — Ambien works wonders at only 2.5 to 5 mG for me. Benadryl is an awful sleep aid for me — it increases restless in my entire body and my mind just won’t shut up.

    Ambien, on the other hand, made my 70+ year-old dad wacked out in the hospital. Both times he was given Ambien — several years apart on different occasions, had him strip himself nakid, wander into the wrong wrongs, be confused, have amnesia, suffer worse insomnia and try to take off his bandages and had him rip out his IV — both times, several years apart. WHY DO DOCTORS GIVE AMBIEN TO THE ELDERLY???! No, no and more no — this should NOT be done.

    Anyway, thanks for your post … quality sleep isn’t always easy and many people have many opinions on how to achieve this — and they have advice for others that isn’t always helpful. Sometimes there is better living through chemistry. And yes, it sucks that big Pharma takes advantage of us all, but some people do appreciate the meds being brought to them and will swear meds make their lives better … and there are the dopes that abuse meds and ruin things for the normal Joe (or Joanna).

    I like the “seven-year” rule. I think it’s a very good one and have heard of it just recently somewhere else.

    As for Mirapex … I NEVER ever want to take that med again. My legs felt so heavy … but the worst thing was I became like a constipated cement factory. I will never ever allow myself to be given that drug ever again. My doc warned me about the gambling and OCD problems … we laughed … although that kind of thing is not really a laughing matter. He said it was rare but he had to warn me. I kind of found out on accident that Ambien works for my restless legs … so whether it be insomnia or RLS it works great for me personally … BUT I’m not naive and see the horrors that this drug has put people through.

    Again, thanks for your post. I wish every drug was free (or super cheap), safe and not abused by anyone … I wish this was the way of the world.

    • Hi Eliza, thanks for the comment. I had the EXACT same experience with Mirapex for my RLS symptoms. I took it for one week; never again. Same with Ambien. I had horrible rebound insomnia the night after taking it, and found that much worse and more frightening than the sleeplessness. Everyone is different. Use ANY prescription medication (or OTC, for that matter) with caution. FN

  32. I’m on day 10 of a ten-day free trial of 20 mg Belsomra. I’m happy enough that I’ve filled my prescription ($105 for 30 days). After several years, Zolpidem ER 12.5 had definitely lost it’s effectiveness (although not completely). Clonazepam works, but concerns about dependency has been a deterrent. A short trial of trazedone two months ago was completely ineffective. Belsomra works slowly for me, but I eventually fall asleep. I am also dreaming (!), and wake up refreshed. The first night I split the pill in half. I gave up after several hours and took the second half. For me, 20 mg is the minimum. It’s also the maximum, given the cost.

    • GBL, thanks for the comment. I’m glad you feel Belsomra is working for you. Many of these new medications have a free trial period, which is a good way to make sure you don’t spend a lot of money on a drug only to find after a day or two it doesn’t work or has a bad side effect. Take care, FN

  33. Thanks for this early report. I hadn’t heard about this new entry in the market, but I’m sure some doctor will recommend it sometime soon. I am very leery of pharmaceutical sleep-aids for the elderly. My personal experience with my wife so far indicates that she can have quality sleep without them.

    The score so far: Three MDs and one advanced practice nurse have mentioned zolpidem; one NP, clonidine. One former coworker killed himself with zolpidem and alcohol.

    • Hi, Ray! There are so many brain-altering drugs on the market right now, and I would approach all of them with extreme caution. Especially in the elderly as they often are taking several medications, and drugs take longer to get out of their system. A lot of hip fractures are the result of falls while taking Ambien (zolpidem). Thanks for your comment! Cheers, FN