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Suvorexant

Generic Name: suvorexant (SOO-voe-REX-ant)
Brand Name: Belsomra

Suvorexant is used for:

Treating insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep).

Suvorexant is a sedative-hypnotic, or sleep medicine. It works by helping to increase certain natural chemicals in the brain that cause sleep.

Do NOT use suvorexant if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in suvorexant
  • you fall asleep when you do not expect it (narcolepsy) or you have severe liver problems
  • you are taking boceprevir, clarithromycin, conivaptan, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, nelfinavir, posaconazole, ritonavir, saquinavir, telaprevir, or telithromycin
  • you are taking another medicine to help you sleep

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using suvorexant:

Some medical conditions may interact with suvorexant. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver problems, lung or breathing problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], sleep apnea), or very poor health
  • if you have a history of sudden muscle weakness (cataplexy), daytime sleepiness, mood or mental problems (eg, depression), suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or alcohol or substance abuse or addiction

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with suvorexant. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amprenavir, aprepitant, atazanavir, benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam), boceprevir, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, conivaptan, diltiazem, erythromycin, fluconazole, fosamprenavir, imatinib, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, narcotic pain medicines (eg, hydrocodone, codeine), nefazodone, nelfinavir, posaconazole, ritonavir, saquinavir, telaprevir, telithromycin, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline, imipramine), or verapamil because they may increase the risk of suvorexant's side effects
  • Carbamazepine, phenytoin, or rifampin because they may decrease suvorexant's effectiveness
  • Digoxin because the risk of its side effects may be increased by suvorexant

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if suvorexant may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use suvorexant:

Use suvorexant as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Suvorexant comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get suvorexant refilled.
  • Suvorexant may be taken with or without a meal. If taken with or right after a meal, it may take longer to work.
  • Suvorexant works very quickly; use suvorexant within 30 minutes of going to sleep.
  • Use suvorexant only when you are able to get a full night's sleep (at least 7 hours).
  • Check with your doctor before you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you use suvorexant.
  • If you miss a dose of suvorexant and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If you will not be able to get a full nights sleep (at least 7 hours) after taking the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. Do not take more than 1 time each night.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use suvorexant.

Important safety information:

  • Suvorexant may cause drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use suvorexant with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks within 8 hours of taking suvorexant and until you feel fully awake.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using suvorexant. Do not take suvorexant if you drank alcohol the same evening or before bed.
  • Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using suvorexant; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Suvorexant may affect how awake you feel during the day, even if you take it as your doctor has told you. This can affect driving skills and may increase the risk of falling asleep while driving. The risk of feeling sleepy the next day is increased if you take suvorexant with less than a full night's sleep (at least 7 hours), with higher doses, or with certain other medicines.
  • Suvorexant is usually used only for a short period of time. If your symptoms do not get better within 7 to 10 days or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Some patients taking suvorexant have performed certain activities while they were not fully awake. These have included sleep-driving, making and eating food, making phone calls, and having sex. Patients often do not remember these events after they happen. Such an event may be more likely to occur if you use a high dose of suvorexant. It may also be more likely if you drink alcohol or take other medicines that may cause drowsiness while you use suvorexant. Tell your doctor right away if such an event happens to you.
  • Muscle weakness can happen with suvorexant. This can last seconds to a few minutes and can happen both at night and during the day. Call your doctor right away if you have leg weakness while taking suvorexant.
  • If you are overweight or are a woman, use suvorexant with care. The risk of suvorexants side effects may be increased. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using suvorexant while you are pregnant. Suvorexant may cause prolonged sleep or severe breathing problems in the newborn if you take it during the last weeks of pregnancy, especially if you take it with certain medicines. Suvorexant is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use suvorexant, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

When sleep medicines are used every night for more than a few weeks, they may lose their effectiveness to help you sleep. This is known as TOLERANCE. Sleep medicines should usually be used only for short periods of time, such as a few days and generally no longer than 1 or 2 weeks. If your sleep problems continue, contact your doctor.

When used for longer than a few weeks or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking suvorexant. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs in the past.

Possible side effects of suvorexant:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Drowsiness (including daytime drowsiness); headache.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal thinking; behavior changes; breathing problems; change in thinking clearly and with logic; confusion; hallucinations; memory problems (eg, memory loss); mental or mood changes (eg, aggression, agitation, anxiety); new or worsening depression; not able to move or speak for up to several minutes while going to sleep or waking up; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or actions.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of suvorexant:

Store suvorexant in the original packaging at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep suvorexant out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about suvorexant, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Suvorexant is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take suvorexant or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about suvorexant. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to suvorexant. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using suvorexant.

Review Date: November 3, 2016

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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