If you’ve got a big day coming up, getting proper sleep is crucial—but it’s not always possible. Sometimes, knowing you must rest to perform well can put more pressure on you and cause the opposite effect. It’s a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break, often leaving you sleep-deprived.
In such situations, a sleep medication may provide some relief. Instead of worrying for hours, you could take a medication like Belsomra and give your body and mind the recharge they need to face the upcoming challenges.
Still, some patients may be worried about the long-term effects of sleep medications because some popular sleep treatments can be addictive if used irresponsibly. In this article, you’ll learn about Belsomra withdrawal, dependence potential, and other information about the sensible use of this drug.
What Is Belsomra and How Is It Used?
Belsomra is a sleep medication prescribed to adults who suffer from insomnia. It’s the first dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Belsomra can help you fall and remain asleep by blocking the actions of orexins—neurotransmitters that promote wakefulness.
You should take Belsomra once per night, 30 minutes before bed. However, you should plan to set aside at least seven hours of sleep after taking Belsomra—this medication may cause drowsiness the next day, so it’s important that you sleep enough and wake up fully before engaging in activities requiring alertness and focus.
The table below breaks down key information about Belsomra:
Belsomra Withdrawal and Dependence
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulates the use of substances and classifies them into five categories based on their accepted medical use and abuse potential. Drug abuse may entail:
- A strong, uncontrollable urge to take the drug
- Persisting in drug use regardless of consequences
- Prioritizing drug use over other activities
- Tolerance and physical dependence, accompanied by withdrawal symptoms
Belsomra is a Schedule IV controlled substance with a low risk of dependence and misuse. Compared to other medications from the group, such as Ambien and Ativan, Belsomra may be less addictive. In the clinical trials, prolonged use of Belsomra didn’t lead to physical dependence in participants who took the drug. Users have reported no withdrawal symptoms after they stopped taking Belsomra, unlike with Ambien, Ativan, and many other sleeping medications.
Still, you should approach it with caution, as Belsomra may cause psychological dependence. Some patients might feel as if they need the drug to fall asleep, experience emotional cravings and mood swings, and spend time thinking about the drug. Some individuals may even experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive problems.
Source: Andisheh A
Who’s at Risk of Developing Dependence on Belsomra?
The risk of Belsomra abuse is higher in individuals who:
- Take the medication every day long-term
- Deal with or have dealt with substance abuse
- Use Belsomra alongside alcohol or other drugs
Doctors should follow such patients closely to prevent Belsomra misuse and accompanying adverse reactions.
Belsomra interacts with other CNS depressants, alcohol, and other drugs, so you shouldn’t mix it with these substances. The combination can lead to enhanced side effects like excessive daytime drowsiness and impaired psychomotor function.
Is It Safe To Stop Using Belsomra Abruptly?
The clinical studies showed no evidence of withdrawal symptoms after the participants stopped taking Belsomra. You should never try getting off Belsomra without consulting a doctor, though. Knowing your health history, your doctor can guide you through the process to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Some patients might experience unease and the return of sleeplessness after they suddenly stop taking Belsomra. To prevent that, the healthcare provider may advise the patient to stop taking the drug gradually through dose reduction and with support from their doctor, psychologist/therapist, and family members.
In some cases, Belsomra’s depressant effects may persist for a few days after stopping the treatment because the substance can remain in the system for about two to three days.
Source: Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush
What Does Safe Belsomra Treatment Look Like?
To ensure safe treatment, your doctor will gather and assess your medical history and info on any medications or supplements you’re taking to determine the optimal Belsomra dosage. The usual starting dose for a healthy adult is 10 mg a day, whereas the daily maximum is 20 mg.
After a few days, your doctor will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the dose based on your feedback. If you’re still experiencing sleeplessness and no side effects are present, the doctor may increase the dose. Patients who still experience insomnia after seven to ten days of use may need to undergo additional evaluation, as an underlying condition could be causing the symptoms.
Some doctors prescribe Belsomra for long-term everyday use, while others advise patients to take it only when necessary. You should always follow the doctor’s instructions and never modify or stop the treatment independently.
In case of any adverse reactions, notify your doctor as soon as possible so they can adjust the treatment, suggest ways to deal with the side effects, or propose an alternative.
Who Should Be Careful When Taking Belsomra?
In specific circumstances, some patients may need a lower dose of Belsomra and close monitoring. These include:
- Patients who take other CNS depressants and CYP3A inhibitors
- Obese patients
- Elderly patients
Besides substance abuse problems, several other conditions can negatively affect the user’s reaction to Belsomra, namely:
- Severe liver problems
- Breathing problems
- Depression and other mental health issues
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Clinical research showed that participants who took higher doses of Belsomra felt drowsy more often and for longer periods. However, you should never increase the dose without your doctor’s instructions because taking too much Belsomra can lead to severe consequences. In case of a suspected overdose, you should contact your doctor, a poison center, or medical emergency services.
If your doctor decides Belsomra isn’t a suitable option for you after assessing your medical history and current health status, they may suggest an alternative. Check out the table below for more details:
It’s important to remember that many sleep medications can cause physical and/or mental dependence, especially benzodiazepines. They can be effective temporary solutions, but only if used under the guidance of your healthcare provider due to their potential side effects. For lasting improvement in sleep quality, you should adopt proper sleep hygiene practices through cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).
If you’re looking for a solution that combines the quick relief of sleep medications with the sustainability of sleep therapy, check out Kick.
Source: Dominic Sansotta
Kick—Your Best Night’s Sleep Designed by Experts
Considering only 1% of doctors specialize in sleep, getting in touch with a sleep medicine specialist can cost you a lot of time and effort. When dealing with sleeplessness, many of us can’t afford to wait. That’s why Kick, the first online performance medicine clinic, has decided to expand its services to cover sleep issues, allowing individuals to connect with a sleep doctor within a day.
Designed by a Stanford sleep doctor, our sleep program gives you personalized and efficient sleep care. Based on a short questionnaire about your medical history, our doctors will create a custom sleep treatment plan for you, consisting of:
- Sleep medications
- Regular check-ins
- Personalized sleep coaching and CBT-I
Our doctor will prescribe two trial medications, which you’ll take for one week each. They’re fast-acting drugs, so you can discover your best night’s sleep quickly. For your convenience, the medication will be shipped to your home or local pharmacy in discreet packaging.
Our doctors don’t prescribe only generic sleep drugs like Belsomra and call it a day—you’ll get personalized treatment and ongoing support to achieve the best results in no time.
Sleep Well, Be Well With Kick’s Sleep Solutions
The Kick sleep program has garnered high praise on Trustpilot, which is a testament to our commitment to helping users achieve better sleep.
“Love Kick Health
Very easy and simple process to get my prescription. The support team has been helpful in answering my questions quickly. Highly recommend Kick Health!”
To join the better sleep club, all you need to do is:
- Register and begin your 15-minute sleep visit
- Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your current condition and medical history
- Provide the shipping and billing information
In case our doctor determines Kick isn’t the sleep solution for you, you won’t have to pay for the sleep visit because of our “Doctor Guarantee” policy.
Kick has subscription-based pricing and will set you back $129 ($99/month + $30 for the medication and shipping). You can get a discount if you opt for the three or six-month prepayment options.
Don’t let one more restless night steal your dreams—try Kick’s convenient sleep solutions for overcoming bedtime procrastination and start celebrating your mornings!
Featured image source: Ketut Subiyanto