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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT “QUVIVIQ” (DARIDOREXANT): THE NEW INSOMNIA TREATMENT

Dr. Mersad Alimoradi 03 Oct 2022
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT “QUVIVIQ” (DARIDOREXANT): THE NEW INSOMNIA TREATMENT

Studies show that 10%-30% of people worldwide don’t get enough sleep. In some populations, the percentage of people with insomnia is as high as 50%-60%.

There’s a huge demand for effective insomnia treatments because this condition can increase the risk of several health concerns. People who don’t sleep well also often have trouble driving, performing well at work, and maintaining healthy relationships. 

Quviviq (daridorexant) is a newly approved drug to treat insomnia in adults. It’s a dual orexin receptor antagonist that blocks wake-promoting neurotransmitters and promotes sleep. This new insomnia medication helps patients sleep better with less grogginess in the morning.  

Read on to learn about Idorsia’s new insomnia drug Quviviq, its mode of action, what sets it apart from other insomnia treatments, and how it can help you sleep well at night.

What Is Quviviq?

Quviviq, or daridorexant (its active ingredient), is a new insomnia medication manufactured by Idorsia, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company.  

It’s a dual orexin receptor antagonist. That means Quviviq can target and block the action of two types of orexins (chemicals that help your body stay awake).       

Idorsia’s CEO, Jean-Paul Clozel, stated that he and his team had been working on developing this insomnia treatment for over two decades.    

At the beginning of 2022, Quviviq (daridorexant) received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat individuals with insomnia who have difficulty with sleep onset, sleep maintenance, or both.

How To Take Quviviq?

Quviviq (daridorexant) tablets are available in 2 dosages (25 mg and 50 mg) for adults who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Here are some instructions for the proper use of Quviviq (daridorexant) in adults:

  • Take one 25 mg or 50 mg Quviviq tablet orally once at night, around 30 minutes before going to bed. However, if your physician prescribes otherwise, you must use the medication exactly as your doctor instructs you to.  
  • Before taking Quviviq, make sure your schedule allows for a full 7-8 hour night’s sleep. Quviviq needs around 7-8 hours to wear off. Hence, if you take this medication when you have to get up after 4 or 5 hours, for example, you may feel drowsy or have memory problems after you wake up.         
  • You do not need to take this medication regularly. You should only use it when you cannot sleep.

Things you should avoid while taking Quviviq (daridorexant):

  • Do not take Quviviq with food or directly after a meal unless your doctor instructs you to. Food can slow down the action of this drug, so it will work faster if you take it on an empty stomach.    
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Quviviq. This medication can add to the effects of alcohol which can be dangerous.
  • Do not take Quviviq with other medications that can make you sleepy unless instructed by your doctor.

As for the contraindications of Quviviq (daridorexant): This drug may decrease awareness and alertness the next day. Therefore, patients with narcolepsy (difficulty staying awake during the day) shouldn’t use Quviviq; it can prevent them from driving safely or functioning well the following morning.     

How Does Quviviq Work?

Quviviq (daridorexant) works by blocking orexins, the chemical messengers in the brain that signal your body to stay awake.

A part of the brain called the hypothalamus produces two types of orexin neuropeptides; orexin-A and orexin-B. These two types of orexins stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which can keep you awake and alert.

Studies suggest that the hyperactivity of orexins can lead to sleep disorders, such as insomnia.

Quviviq is a dual-action orexin antagonist – it can bind to the receptors of orexin-A and Orexin-B neuropeptides and inhibit their action. Consequently, Quviviq prevents the release of wake-promoting neurotransmitters and helps individuals sleep better.  

How Is Quviviq Different From Other Insomnia Drugs?

Conventional insomnia treatments act as Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor agonists; they work by increasing the production of GABA amino acid that promotes sleep. 

However, researchers found that GABA agonists can cause addiction, low blood pressure, and other serious side effects.

More recently, dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORA) offered a novel insomnia therapy option. Instead of increasing sleep-promoting chemicals, DORA drugs reduce the production of wake-promoting neurotransmitters.

Other dual orexin receptor antagonists, are available and approved for the treatment of insomnia in people who don’t get enough sleep. And they work similarly to daridorexant.

So what’s the difference between Quviviq and other dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORA)?

Studies found that most of the available DORA insomnia drugs often leave users feeling drowsy or groggy the next day.  

According to initial data, unlike other DORA insomnia treatments, daridorexant does not lead to next-day fatigue and somnolence. When treated with Quviviq, individuals often wake up feeling refreshed and energetic after 7-8 hours of sleep.     

Therefore, Quviviq (daridorexant) offers an alternative to similar insomnia medications that usually cause patients to feel groggy in the morning.  

Clinical Evidence Supporting Quviviq

Quviviq (daridorexant) was approved based on the data from a large three-stage study.

The study included 1,854 adults who had problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.

The final data showed that Quviviq significantly improved night-time sleep and day-time functioning over a long time.

Furthermore, researchers reviewed the safety and efficacy of Quviviq (daridorexant) treatment in patients with difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep. The new insomnia drug was found safe and effective in treating insomnia in patients, including older patients ages 65 and older.

The data also confirmed that Quviviq did not make the patients less functional the following day.

What Are The Side Effects Of Quviviq?

The most common side effect in patients treated with 25 mg or 50 mg of Quviviq (daridorexant) for insomnia was headaches (5% with 25 mg - 6% with 50 mg). 

Less common side effects were:

  • Dizziness (2%)
  • Fatigue (2%)
  • Somnolence/ drowsiness (4% with 25 mg - 2% with 50 mg).

Although rare, serious adverse events with Quviviq included:

  • Sleep paralysis (0.5% with 25 mg - 0.3% with 50 mg)
  • Hallucinations (0.6% with 25 mg) – No patients receiving 50 mg of Quviviq experienced hallucinations.

Can Quviviq Cure My Insomnia?

Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, can lead to negative psychological and physical health consequences. Prescription sleeping pills such as Quviviq can help you get a good night's sleep.  

Although insomnia drugs can improve sleep and quality of life, they’re often short-term solutions. In addition to medication, different approaches such as lifestyle changes, optimizing your sleep environment, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you effectively treat chronic sleep problems. 

Moreover, insomnia can result from an underlying health condition. Heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer, and mental health problems are some of the conditions that can make you lose sleep. 

In these cases, sleeping pills can only treat the symptom, not the illness. Addressing the root cause of your sleeping disorders helps treat them more efficiently and permanently.   

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if you’ve been experiencing insomnia or other sleeping issues. Diagnosing and treating sleep disturbances early on can protect you from the mental and physical dangers of losing sleep.  

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About the Author:
Dr. Mersad is a medical doctor, author, and editor based in Germany. He's managed to publish several research papers early in his career. He is passionate about spreading medical knowledge. Thus, he spends a big portion of his time writing educational articles for everyone to learn.

Sources:

  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/orexin-receptor-antagonist
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5450021/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6061179/  
  • https://www.idorsia.com/media/news-details?newsId=2665386
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9042981/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31953863/

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