Do you have trouble sleeping at night? A lot of people do. The stresses of work, family and daily life can prevent many people from resting or getting a good night’s sleep. If you have a rare sleep disorder called Non-24-Hour Disorder, you may find it even harder to fall or stay asleep.
Non-24-Hour Disorder affects between 65,000 and 95,000 people. It is most common among blind people.
The disorder is characterized by a disrupted or non-functioning circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural sleep schedule and what signals the body to go sleep at night and wake up in the morning.
There are many medications used to treat sleep disorders, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is debating on the approval of an experimental sleep-disorder drug made by Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc that will effectively treat Non-24-Hour Disorder.
The drug, tasimelteon controls melatonin levels, which help control the circadian rhythm. It can help sleep disorder patients falls asleep easier, stay asleep throughout the night and wake up easier in the morning. Side effects include, back pain, vivid dreams, diarrhea, dry mouth, headache, sleepiness and upper respiratory tract infections.
An advisory panel of medical experts will meet this week to review the drug and determine if it is safe and should be approved. The FDA takes the opinions of the advisory panel into consideration when approving new drugs, and says that because there is no real medical threat associated with the new drug, it will likely be approved at the beginning of the year.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.