From the Journals

Newly approved drug improves sleep onset in insomnia



The newly approved insomnia drug daridorexant (Quviviq) improves sleep onset in adults, new phase 3 data suggest. In the first of two studies, a 50-mg dose of daridorexant was associated with a reduction in latency to persistent sleep (LPS) of 11.7 minutes at month 3 versus placebo. The drug also was associated with improved daytime function.

Based on these results, the Food and Drug Administration approved daridorexant for the treatment of insomnia in adults earlier in January.

“The study shows that it is a really good drug that works differently from most other drugs,” said Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, professor of sleep medicine at Stanford (Calif.) University. “It’s more specific to sleep,” Dr. Mignot added.

The findings were published in the February issue of The Lancet Neurology.

Two trials, three doses

Daridorexant is a dual orexin receptor antagonist intended to reduce excessive wakefulness. The investigators hypothesized that, because of its therapeutic target, the drug would not cause sleepiness on the morning after administration.

To examine daridorexant’s safety and efficacy, the researchers conducted two double-blind, parallel-group, phase 3 trials. Eligible participants were aged 18 years or older, had moderate to severe insomnia disorder, and had a self-reported history of disturbed sleep at least 3 nights per week for at least 3 months before screening.

In study 1, investigators randomly assigned participants in groups of equal size to daridorexant 25 mg, 50 mg, or placebo. In study 2, participants were randomly assigned to daridorexant 10 mg, 25 mg, or placebo.

During a placebo run-in period, participants underwent polysomnography on two consecutive nights to define baseline values. At the end of months 1 and 3 of the treatment period, participants again underwent 2 nights of polysomnography. A final night of polysomnography occurred during the placebo run-out period.

Self-assessments included the Insomnia Daytime Symptoms and Impacts Questionnaire (IDSIQ). This questionnaire, to which participants responded daily, is designed to measure the daytime impairments related to insomnia. The IDSIQ questions focus on sleepiness, mood, alertness, and cognition.

The study’s primary endpoints were change from baseline in wake after sleep onset (WASO) and LPS at months 1 and 3. Secondary endpoints were change from baseline in self-reported total sleep time and change in the IDSIQ sleepiness domain score at months 1 and 3.

The investigators enrolled 930 participants in study 1 and 924 in study 2. In each study, more than two-thirds of participants were women, 39% were aged 65 or older, and demographic and baseline characteristics were similar between treatment groups.

Dose-dependent effects

At month 1 in study 1, WASO was reduced by 22.8 minutes (P < .0001) in patients who received the 50-mg dose and by 12.2 minutes (P < .0001) in the 25-mg dose. At month 3, WASO was reduced by 18.3 minutes (P < .0001) in those assigned to 50 mg and by 11.9 minutes (P < .0001) in those assigned to 25 mg.

LPS was reduced by 11.4 minutes (P < .0001) at month 1 and by 11.7 minutes (P < .0001) at month 3 with the 50-mg dose versus placebo. LPS was reduced by 8.3 minutes (P = .0005) at month 1 and by 7.6 minutes (P = .0015) at month 3 with the 25-mg dose versus placebo.

At both time points, self-reported total sleep time was significantly increased and the IDSIQ sleepiness score significantly improved with the 50-mg dose. The 25-mg dose was associated with significant improvements in self-reported total sleep time at both time points, but not with significant improvements in IDSIQ sleepiness score.

In study 2, the 25-mg dose was associated with significant reductions in WASO at month 1 (11.6 minutes, P = .0001) and month 3 (10.3 minutes, P = .0028) compared with placebo. The 25-mg dose was not associated with significant differences in LPS at either time point, however.

Similarly, the 25-mg dose was associated with improvements in self-reported total sleep time, but not with the IDSIQ sleepiness score. The 10-mg dose was not associated with improvements on any endpoint compared with placebo.


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