New York: Insomnia is a driver of suicide, and people with severe insomnia may safely benefit from taking a sedative to help address their sleep problems as it reduces their suicidal thoughts, a new study suggests. The study included 103 participants aged 18 to 65 with major depressive disorder, insomnia and suicidal thoughts.
All participants took an antidepressant for the eight-week duration of the trial and half also took the sedative-hypnotic zolpidem at bedtime. “While the results do not argue for the routine prescription of hypnotics for mitigating suicidal ideation in all depressed outpatients with insomnia, they suggest that co-presciption of a hypnotic during initiation of an antidepressant may be beneficial in suicidal outpatients, especially in patients with severe insomnia,” said study researchers from Augusta University in the US.
The sleep aid was most effective in reducing suicidal thoughts in patients with the most severe insomnia. There were no deaths or suicide attempts by participants during the course of the study.
Two weeks after the study concluded both study groups — including those not taking the sleep aid — appeared to have maintained progress with reduced depression scores and suicidal thoughts.