Clinical pharmacology in sleep medicine

ISRN Pharmacol. 2012:2012:914168. doi: 10.5402/2012/914168. Epub 2012 Nov 14.


The basic treatment goals of pharmacological therapies in sleep medicine are to improve waking function by either improving sleep or by increasing energy during wakefulness. Stimulants to improve waking function include amphetamine derivatives, modafinil, and caffeine. Sleep aids encompass several classes, from benzodiazepine hypnotics to over-the-counter antihistamines. Other medications used in sleep medicine include those initially used in other disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric disorders. As these medications are prescribed or encountered by providers in diverse fields of medicine, it is important to recognize the distribution of adverse effects, drug interaction profiles, metabolism, and cytochrome substrate activity. In this paper, we review the pharmacological armamentarium in the field of sleep medicine to provide a framework for risk-benefit considerations in clinical practice.