Insomnia Home > Silenor

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).
 
(Click Silenor Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes This Medication?

Silenor is made by Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
 

How Does Silenor Work?

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:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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