Insomnia Drug May Lack Potential for Abuse

Ramelteon does not impair motor or cognitive function

MONDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Ramelteon (Rozerem), a recently approved insomnia drug, does not appear to have the potential for abuse and does not impair motor or cognitive function more than a placebo, according to an industry-funded study in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, treated 14 adults with a history of sedative abuse with one of three doses of ramelteon, one of three doses of triazolam, and placebo during approximately 18 days. Ramelteon targets melatonin receptors while triazolam targets benzodiazepine receptors, according to the authors.

The study subjects reported that ramelteon was no more likely than a placebo to have potential for abuse, as determined by drug likeability or street value. There was also no greater impact than placebo on motor or cognitive performance at all doses examined. In contrast, triazolam had dose-related effects on abuse potential, and motor and cognitive performance. Seventy-nine percent of subjects classified the highest dose of ramelteon as placebo, while only 14 percent of subjects classified the highest dose of triazolam as placebo.

"Ramelteon demonstrated no significant effects indicative of potential for abuse or motor and cognitive impairment at up to 20 times the recommended therapeutic dose and may represent a useful alternative to existing insomnia medications," Griffiths and colleagues conclude.

The study was partly funded by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.

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