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Zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone for insomnia
Understanding NICE guidance ­ information for people with
insomnia, their families and carers, and the public
Issue date: April 2004
Review date: April 2007
To order copies
Copies of this booklet can be ordered from the NHS Response Line;
telephone 0870 1555 455 and quote reference number N0546. A
version in Welsh and English is also available, reference number
N0547. Mae fersiwn yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesneg ar gael hefyd, rhif
cyfeirnod N0547.…read more

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Contents
What is NICE guidance? 4
What is insomnia? 5
What are zaleplon, zolpidem and 6
zopiclone?
What has NICE recommended on zaleplon, 7
zolpidem and zopiclone for insomnia?
What should I do next? 9
Will NICE review its guidance? 9
Further information 10…read more

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What is NICE guidance?
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence
(NICE) is part of the NHS. It produces guidance
(recommendations) on the use of medicines,
medical equipment, diagnostic tests and clinical
and surgical procedures within the NHS in
England and Wales.
To produce this guidance, NICE looks at how
well the medicine, equipment or procedure
works and also how well it works in relation to
how much it costs. This process is called an
appraisal.…read more

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What is insomnia?
Insomnia is the disturbance of a normal sleep
pattern. People with insomnia may find it
difficult to get to sleep, or may wake up
frequently during the night and have difficulty
getting back to sleep, or they may wake very
early in the morning. Insomnia can be distressing
and may cause problems during the day, such as
tiredness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating
and irritability. It may even lead to mental
health problems such as anxiety.
Sleep needs vary between individuals.…read more

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There are ways of treating insomnia that do not
involve the use of medicines to help people
sleep ­ for example, having regular sleeping
hours, avoiding drinking alcohol or coffee at
bedtime, and sleeping in a comfortable bed in a
room at a comfortable temperature. Other
treatments that do not use medicines include a
form of psychotherapy called cognitive
behavioural therapy and relaxation techniques.…read more

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These effects include
anxiety and even panic attacks and people find
it impossible to sleep without the treatment.…read more

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NICE has made the following recommendations
about the use of zaleplon, zolpidem and
zopiclone to treat insomnia within the NHS in
England and Wales.
· NICE recommends that doctors should consider
using non-medicine treatments, and then, if
they think that a hypnotic medicine is the
appropriate way to treat severe insomnia that
is interfering with normal daily life, they
should prescribe one for only short periods of
time and strictly according to the licence for
the drug.…read more

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What should I do next?
If you or someone you care for has insomnia,
you should discuss this guidance with your
doctor.
Will NICE review its guidance?
Yes. The guidance will be reviewed in April 2007.…read more

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Further information
The NICE website (www.nice.org.uk) has further
information about NICE and the full guidance on
Zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone for the short-
term management of insomnia that has been
issued to the NHS. The assessment report, which
contains details of the studies that were looked
at, is also available from the NICE website. A
short version of the guidance (a `quick reference
guide') is available on the website and from the
NHS Response Line (reference number N0545).…read more

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