Pick the one you want most

Allows us to better understand your problem

Sleep through the nightFall asleep fasterSleep without pills
Decoding Belsomra's Risks: Exploring Potential Side Effects

Better Sleep Starts Now

Take Your Sleep Quiz
January 4, 2024

The Dangers of Belsomra: Understanding its Side Effects

Medically reviewed by: 

At night, many struggle to find peaceful sleep and turn to medicines like Belsomra for help. It's a name known in sleep circles, offering relief but also raising concerns due to its effects. It shows how intricate our brain chemistry is and the careful balance we aim for.

But every intervention has risks. Current discussions on sleep treatments emphasize understanding Belsomra's side effects. This exploration aims to shed light on the uncertainties surrounding its use for sleep. Once a molecule enters our body, its path holds unknowns and outcomes.

Considering sleep improvements? Opt for a different path with Sleep Reset. Start by taking our sleep quiz, enabling us to pinpoint your key issues. Following the quiz, opt to work with your personal sleep coach and gain access to our dedicated sleep program. It's a proactive approach to address sleep concerns without the risks associated with medications like Belsomra.

Unpacking Belsomra's Side Effects

Belsomra (suvorexant) aims to regulate the brain's wakefulness, but it comes with potential side effects. While it may help with sleep, it can also bring about a range of effects, varying from mild to severe, based on individual differences.

Among the concerning issues, Belsomra can lead to complex sleep behaviors like sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and engaging in activities while not fully awake, along with memory loss about these actions, posing safety risks. Additionally, it may cause a drugged feeling upon waking, affecting thinking and movement. This emphasizes the need for individuals to assess their reaction to the drug and have a detailed discussion with a healthcare professional to decide if it's suitable and safe for them.

Common Physical Reactions

Belsomra users frequently report drowsiness—a direct consequence of its sedative effects on the central nervous system.

Despite aiding in sleep induction, Belsomra may induce daytime drowsiness, hindering alertness and affecting daytime functioning.

Physical side effects can manifest as dizziness, headache, and fatigue, all of which deter from everyday activities, and, more critically, can impair driving or the operation of machinery.

Gastrointestinal disturbances are also common, including nausea, diarrhea, or dry mouth, further contributing to discomfort and potentially impacting nutritional intake and hydration.

Psychological Impact

Belsomra (suvorexant) may pose the risk of adverse psychological reactions in some users.

  • Depression or depressive symptoms: This may involve persistent sadness, loss of interest, and a decrease in energy levels.
  • Anxiety: Users may experience heightened levels of nervousness, worry, and tension.
  • Hallucinations: Rare occurrences of seeing or hearing things that are not present have been reported.
  • Mood swings: Individuals may notice increased irritability or mood instability.
  • Suicidal ideation: In extreme cases, there have been reports of thoughts of self-harm.

The incidence of suicidal thoughts, although infrequent, requires immediate attention.

Medications affecting the central nervous system can significantly alter emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Long-Term Health Concerns

Chronic use of Belsomra may lead to the development of dependence, a worrying potential for users.

Over time, a patient's sleep architecture may be altered, perhaps irreversibly, inducing chronic sleep irregularities even after discontinuation of treatment.

Moreover, the risk of cognitive decline associated with prolonged use of hypnotics like Belsomra is an area of growing concern within the medical community.

Prolonged exposure to Belsomra raises questions about its impact on neural plasticity and the brain's ability to adapt and reorganize neural pathways over time.

Finally, the potential for Belsomra to exacerbate underlying conditions should not be underestimated, warranting cautious scrutiny before long-term use is considered.

Navigating Daytime Drowsiness

Daytime somnolence, a hallmark of sleep-wake disturbances, can impair cognitive and motor functions.

When combating this side effect of Belsomra, strategic scheduling of doses and careful monitoring of one's sleep patterns are imperative. Failing to address daytime drowsiness can result in compromised alertness and a significant reduction in quality of life.

Adopting a tailored approach to medication timing may mitigate such risks, preserving daily function and safety.

Impact on Daily Activities

Belsomra usage may disrupt ordinary life rhythms, negating benefits derived from improved sleep by intruding on daytime alertness and function.

Sudden lapses in attention can jeopardize personal and professional responsibilities.

Furthermore, an individual might encounter difficulty in processing complex information, hobbled by Belsomra's side effects (namely, daytime drowsiness).

Complex tasks may seem more challenging, potentially compromising work performance and personal safety for those affected.

Driving, operating heavy machinery, or performing any duties requiring acute concentration becomes hazardous, posing a risk of accidents with serious ramifications.

Consequently, patients must stay vigilant about Belsomra's influence on their ability to undertake daily routines, ensuring they communicate openly with healthcare professionals about any concerns.

Risks of Operating Machinery

Belsomra may significantly impair your ability to operate machinery, posing serious safety concerns.

  1. Decreased vigilance: Slowed reaction times and impaired decision-making capabilities can lead to accidents.
  2. Next-day drowsiness: Residual effects of the medication may persist into the following day, affecting your performance.
  3. Impaired motor coordination: Belsomra can disrupt fine motor skills essential for safe machinery operation.
  4. Cognitive impairment: Difficulty with concentration, attention, and memory can increase the risk of errors while working.
  5. Judgment errors: The drug could affect your ability to judge situations accurately, leading to unsafe practices.

Operating heavy machinery or driving after taking Belsomra is strongly discouraged.

Any task that demands high levels of alertness and coordination must be approached with caution.

Belsomra and Sleep Behaviors

Belsomra's mechanism of action, which hinges on antagonizing orexin receptors, can induce complex sleep-related behaviors. Episodes of sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and engaging in other activities while not fully awake, pose unique risks and demand vigilant monitoring. In some cases, individuals have no recollection of these actions, raising serious safety concerns.

The drug's influence on sleep architecture may alter conventional sleep patterns and behaviors. Consequently, it is imperative for patients to strictly adhere to dosing guidelines and immediately report any aberrant behaviors to their healthcare provider to mitigate potential harm.

Sleep-Walking Dangers

Sleep-walking, otherwise known as somnambulism, stands as a notable peril associated with Belsomra intake. Users may undertake complex tasks while in a non-conscious state, completely unaware of their actions until after the event.

The risk incurred by such nocturnal activities extends beyond mere disorientation; individuals might find themselves in hazardous situations, unable to respond to threats or protect themselves due to the soporific veil cast by the medication. This behavior not only endangers the individual but may also pose risks to others, particularly if the sleepwalker operates vehicles or handles dangerous machinery during their unwary state. Such instances can result in serious injury or even be life-threatening, necessitating immediate medical intervention.

Moreover, these episodes can induce profound psychological distress upon awakening. Individuals often feel confusion, anxiety, and embarrassment, further compromising their emotional wellbeing. This is particularly delicate for patients with preexisting conditions such as anxiety or sleep disorders, for whom such episodes may exacerbate their symptoms and hinder the therapeutic progress.

In conclusion, the dangerous potential of Belsomra-induced sleep-walking demands attention and precaution. Healthcare professionals must thoroughly counsel patients on the risks, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a safe sleep environment. If sleep-walking episodes occur, immediate reassessment of the treatment regimen is imperative, exploring alternative therapeutic options that ensure both efficacy in managing insomnia and the safety of the patient and those around them.

Other Disturbed Sleep Patterns

Belsomra (suvorexant) may not only provoke sleep-walking but can also lead to additional altered sleep experiences.

  • Nightmares or disturbing dreams that can exacerbate sleep anxiety
  • Night terrors, causing intense fear and agitation during sleep
  • Sleep paralysis, a temporary inability to move or speak when falling asleep or awakening
  • REM sleep behavior disorder, where individuals act out vivid dreams physically

Frequent disturbances can undermine the restorative value of sleep, compounding insomnia's adverse effects.

The complexity of sleep requires medications like Belsomra to be prescribed with caution, especially acknowledging these potential side effects.

Interactions and Complications

When taking Belsomra, it is crucial to consider the potential for drug interactions that can alter its efficacy or exacerbate side effects. Certain medications, such as CYP3A inhibitors, can increase the concentration of Belsomra in the bloodstream, potentially leading to more pronounced adverse reactions. Conversely, CYP3A inducers may decrease its effectiveness, undermining the therapeutic benefit. Thus, a comprehensive review of a patient's medication regimen is necessary to identify and mitigate such risks.

Furthermore, Belsomra may interact with alcohol or central nervous system (CNS) depressants to intensify drowsiness and further impair cognitive and motor skills. This can lead to dangerous situations, particularly if one needs to be alert or operate machinery. Additionally, patients with a history of substance abuse or those with certain psychiatric conditions must be evaluated carefully before initiating Belsomra, to prevent complications arising from such comorbidities. Healthcare providers should closely monitor these individuals for signs of unusual behavior changes, along with any emergent or worsening of depression or suicidal thoughts.

Medications to Avoid

Patients prescribed Belsomra should exercise caution regarding concurrent use with other sedative-hypnotics, such as benzodiazepines, due to the potential for additive CNS depression.

Avoid combining with opioids, which may exponentially increase the risk of respiratory depression and sedation.

Other medications to consider are antipsychotics, antidepressants, or antihistamines, which can exacerbate sedative effects when taken with Belsomra.

It's imperative to steer clear of alcohol consumption as it intensifies Belsomra's sedative properties, leading to heightened impairment.

Counsel on the avoidance of over-the-counter medications that may contain diphenhydramine or doxylamine, as these antihistamines can further deepen sedation and complicate the central nervous system's response to Belsomra.

Lastly, engaging with medications that inhibit multi-drug resistance protein 1 (MDR1) could alter Belsomra's pharmacokinetic profile, impacting safety and efficacy.

Pre-existing Conditions to Consider

Existing mental health disorders can influence Belsomra effects.

It is critical for individuals with a history of depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric conditions to approach Belsomra with caution. The nuances of neurochemical interactions may exacerbate underlying conditions, leading to adverse clinical outcomes. Consequently, careful assessment is warranted to ensure Belsomra aligns with the patient's comprehensive treatment strategy.

Breathing disorders may compound Belsomra's respiratory side effects.

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea, COPD, or asthma should be meticulously evaluated. This is because Belsomra's potential to depress respiratory drive might aggravate the inherent risks associated with these conditions, requiring heightened vigilance in both prescribing and subsequent monitoring.

Concomitant liver or renal impairment must be factored in.

Those with compromised hepatic or renal function may experience altered metabolism of Belsomra, thus necessitating an adjustment of dosage. Post-approval surveillance into 2023 has reinforced the importance of customizing treatment plans to accommodate for such physiological variations to safeguard against potential toxicity.

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

If you're looking for a drug-free way to get better sleep, the Sleep Reset program can help. We use CBT-I principles to help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Our free sleep quiz can help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problems, so you can find the best solution for you.

Our program does not rely on harmful pills, melatonin or supplements – which means no grogginess, dependency, or long-term health risks. Instead of relying on quick fixes, we use proven techniques to address the root causes of your sleep issues and give you the long-term tools to manage your sleep. Our dedicated sleep coach will help you via daily text to provide accountability, support, and guidance.

The Sleep Reset program is available on iOS and Android.

Take the Sleep quiz now.