Suvorexant in Patients With Insomnia: Results From Two 3-Month Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials

Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Jan 15;79(2):136-48. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.10.003. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Background: Suvorexant is an orexin receptor antagonist for treatment of insomnia. We report results from two pivotal phase 3 trials.

Methods: Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, 3-month trials in nonelderly (18-64 years) and elderly (≥65 years) patients with insomnia. Suvorexant doses of 40/30 mg (nonelderly/elderly) and 20/15 mg (nonelderly/elderly) were evaluated. The primary focus was 40/30 mg, with fewer patients randomized to 20/15 mg. There was an optional 3-month double-blind extension in trial 1. Each trial included a 1-week, randomized, double-blind run-out after double-blind treatment to assess withdrawal/rebound. Efficacy was assessed at week 1, month 1, and month 3 by patient-reported subjective total sleep time and time to sleep onset and in a subset of patients at night 1, month 1, and month 3 by polysomnography end points of wakefulness after persistent sleep onset and latency to onset of persistent sleep (LPS). One thousand twenty-one patients were randomized in trial 1 and 1019 patients in trial 2.

Results: Suvorexant 40/30 mg was superior to placebo on all subjective and polysomnography end points at night 1/week 1, month 1, and month 3 in both trials, except for LPS at month 3 in trial 2. Suvorexant 20/15 mg was superior to placebo on subjective total sleep time and wakefulness after persistent sleep onset at night 1/week 1, month 1, and month 3 in both trials and at most individual time points for subjective time to sleep onset and LPS in each trial. Both doses of suvorexant were generally well tolerated, with <5% of patients discontinuing due to adverse events over 3 months. The results did not suggest the emergence of marked rebound or withdrawal signs or symptoms when suvorexant was discontinued.

Conclusions: Suvorexant improved sleep onset and maintenance over 3 months of nightly treatment and was generally safe and well tolerated.

Keywords: Insomnia; Orexin; Pharmacotherapy; Randomized controlled trial; Sleep; Suvorexant.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Azepines / administration & dosage*
  • Azepines / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Triazoles / adverse effects
  • Wakefulness / drug effects*


  • Azepines
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists
  • Triazoles
  • suvorexant