Testing the Efficacy of New Hypnotic Drugs

  • F. Hohagen
  • M. Berger
Conference paper
Part of the Psychopharmacology Series book series (PSYCHOPHARM, volume 8)

Abstract

Sleep disorders are a major concern in the field of health politics. Epidemiological studies have revealed that 25%–35% of the population suffers from insomnia and 12.5% demonstrate insomnia severe enough to warrant medical help (Lugaresi et al. 1987; Bixler et al. 1979). This indicates the urgency of developing adequate methods of treatment. Benzodiazepines prevail in current insomnia therapy because of their relatively safe and prompt sleep-inducing properties (Woods et al. 1987; Lohse Mūller-Oerlinghausen 1988). However, as knowledge of the total efficacy/side-effect spectrum of this group of drugs accumulates, the attitude towards them has become increasingly critical and reserved. The major problem aside from possible tolerance and thereby the potential for addiction (Tryer 1988) is the generation of rebound insomnia. This can occur in extended intake and can endure for several weeks after withdrawal of the drug (Kales et al. 1983). The sleeplessness which arises in conjunction with the discontinuation of ben-zodiazepine therapy may lead to the patient’s continued demand for these substances since he is convinced that without them he will not be able to sleep at all. The extent of the problem is visible in the practical work with insomniac patients, a great number of whom were or are currently dependent on some type of benzodiazepine.

Keywords

Placebo Fatigue Depression Nicotine Caffeine 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Hohagen
  • M. Berger
    • 1
  1. 1.Zentralinstitut für Seelische GesundheitMannheimGermany

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