The pharmacologic management of insomnia in patients with HIV

J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 Jun 15;5(3):251-62.


Insomnia is common in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seropositive populations. Some studies have estimated as many as 70% of HIV patients experience insomnia at some point during their illness. Insomnia has been linked to reduced quality of life as well as treatment non-adherence in these patients. However, there has been very limited research on the treatment of insomnia in this setting. Lacking treatment trials, we carried out a review of the available literature relevant to the pharmacologic treatment of insomnia in HIV seropositive individuals in order to provide guidance for the clinical management of this complex population. A systematic MEDLINE search was performed using as search terms each of the FDA approved or commonly prescribed insomnia medications and "insomnia and HIV." In addition, we reviewed the published literature on HIV therapies and common comorbid conditions and their interactions with insomnia therapies. We found 4 primary factors affecting the pharmacotherapy of insomnia in individuals with HIV: (1) medications used to treat HIV; (2) antibiotics used to treat opportunistic infections; (3) the HIV infection itself; and (4) conditions frequently associated with HIV infection. The means by which these factors affect the expected risk-benefit profile of insomnia therapies is discussed, and recommendations are made for choosing medications in patients encountered in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines