Reducing Suicidal Ideation Through Insomnia Treatment (REST-IT): A Randomized Clinical Trial

Am J Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 1;176(11):957-965. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19030267. Epub 2019 Sep 20.


Objective: The authors sought to determine whether targeted treatment of insomnia with controlled-release zolpidem (zolpidem-CR) in suicidal adults with insomnia would provide a reduction in suicidal ideation superior to placebo.

Methods: Reducing Suicidal Ideation Through Insomnia Treatment was an 8-week three-site double-blind placebo-controlled parallel-group randomized controlled trial of zolpidem-CR hypnotic therapy compared with placebo, in conjunction with an open-label selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Participants were medication-free 18- to 65-year-olds with major depressive disorder, insomnia, and suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation was the main outcome, measured first by the Scale for Suicide Ideation and second by the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).

Results: A total of 103 participants were randomly assigned to receive zolpidem-CR (N=51) or placebo (N=52) (64 women and 39 men; mean age=40.5 years). Zolpidem-CR had a robust anti-insomnia effect, especially in patients with the most severe insomnia symptoms. No significant treatment effect was observed on the Scale for Suicide Ideation (least squares mean estimate=-0.56, SE=0.83, 95% CI=-2.19, 1.08), but the reduction in scores was significantly positively related to improvement in insomnia after accounting for the effect of other depression symptoms. The C-SSRS indicated that zolpidem-CR had a significant treatment effect (least squares mean estimate=-0.26, SE=0.12, 95% CI=-0.50, -0.02). The advantage for zolpidem-CR in reducing suicidal ideation on the C-SSRS was greater in patients with more severe insomnia. No deaths or suicide attempts occurred.

Conclusions: Although the results do not support the routine prescription of hypnotic medication for mitigating suicidal ideation in all depressed outpatients with insomnia, they suggest that coprescription of a hypnotic during initiation of an antidepressant may be beneficial in suicidal outpatients, especially in patients with severe insomnia.

Trial registration: NCT01689909.

Keywords: Insomnia; Sleep; Suicide.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Aids, Pharmaceutical / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Young Adult
  • Zolpidem / therapeutic use*


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sleep Aids, Pharmaceutical
  • Zolpidem

Associated data