An update of management of insomnia in patients with chronic orofacial pain

Oral Dis. 2017 Nov;23(8):1043-1051. doi: 10.1111/odi.12637. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


In this review, we discuss the management of chronic orofacial pain (COFP) patients with insomnia. Diagnostic work-up and follow-up routines of COFP patients should include assessment of sleep problems. Management is based on a multidisciplinary approach, addressing the factors that modulate the pain experience as well as insomnia and including both non-pharmacological and pharmacological modalities. Parallel to treatment, patients should receive therapy for comorbid medical and psychiatric disorders, and possible substance abuse that may be that may trigger or worsen the COFP and/or their insomnia. Insomnia treatment should begin with non-pharmacological therapy, to minimize potential side effects, drug interactions, and risk of substance abuse associated with pharmacological therapy. Behavioral therapies for insomnia include the following: sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, multicomponent behavioral therapy or brief behavioral therapy for insomnia, relaxation strategies, stimulus control, and sleep restriction. Approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration medications to treat insomnia include the following: benzodiazepines (estazolam, flurazepam, temazepam, triazolam, and quazepam), non-benzodiazepine hypnotics (eszopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem), the melatonin receptor agonist ramelteon, the antidepressant doxepin, and the orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant. Chronic orofacial pain can greatly improve following treatment of the underlying insomnia, and therefore, re-evaluation of COFP is advised after 1 month of treatment.

Keywords: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); insomnia; orofacial pain; pain; sleep; sleep disorders; sleep medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amines / therapeutic use
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Pain / complications*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Facial Pain / complications*
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Pregabalin / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • Amines
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin
  • Melatonin