Cognitive behaviour therapy has proved to be effective in treating persistent insomnia, according to a new study.
The research team from Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada has shown that a combination of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and the medication zolpidem for 6 weeks was associated with improvement in sleep.
However for a longer treatment period CBT alone was more beneficial.
Lead researcher Dr Charles M. Morin and colleagues evaluated the short- and long-term effects of CBT, singly and combined with the medication zolpidem.
During the study, 160 adults were randomized to receive either CBT alone or CBT plus 10 mg/d (taken at bedtime) of zolpidem for an initial 6-week therapy, followed by extended 6-month therapy.
The researchers found that CBT used singly or in combination with zolpidem produced significant improvements in the amount of time that it took to fall asleep, time awake after falling to sleep, and sleep efficiency during initial therapy.
After six weeks, almost 60 percent of the participants responded to treatment of CBT alone while 61 pct responded well to CBT plus zolpidem.
"The best long-term outcome was obtained with patients treated with combined therapy initially, followed by CBT alone, as evidenced by higher remission rates at the six-month follow-up compared with patients who continued to take zolpidem during extended therapy (68 percent vs. 42 percent)," the authors write.
"Although the present findings are promising, there is currently no treatment that works for every patient with insomnia and additional studies are needed to develop treatment algorithms to guide practitioners in the clinical management of insomnia," they added.
The study appears in JAMA.