Available only by prescription, Silenor is a drug approved for insomnia treatment. This sleep medicine is particularly useful for people who have problems staying asleep. The medicine comes in the form of a tablet, and is taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Possible side effects include daytime drowsiness, upper respiratory infections, and high blood pressure.
What Is Silenor?
Silenor® (doxepin tablets) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of insomnia. It is particularly helpful for people who have trouble staying asleep (instead of just falling asleep).
It is thought that Silenor works for insomnia treatment mostly by blocking histamine receptors in the body. Specifically, it blocks a certain type of histamine receptor known as the H1 receptor. Although drugs that block H1 receptors are used for a variety of different purposes, most of them also cause some degree of sleepiness.
Doxepin, the active ingredient in Silenor, is also sometimes classified as a tricyclic antidepressant, an older class of depression and anxiety drugs. In fact, high strengths of doxepin are approved for treating anxiety and depression.
Effects of Silenor
Studies have shown that Silenor can significantly decrease the amount of time spent awake after initially falling asleep, compared to a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). It was effective both in people with chronic insomnia and temporary insomnia.
These studies also suggested that Silenor could continue to be effective for extended use (some studies lasted as long as three months) and that "rebound insomnia" (worsened insomnia after stopping the drug) is not a significant problem with Silenor.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Silenor [package insert]. San Diego, CA: Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.;2010 March.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 24, 2010.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click