Monday, July 22, 2013
The neurotransmitter Orexin.
This little baby really packs a wallop.
And can put us to sleep.
For the first time in thirty years the FDA is close to approving a drug that can help those with insomnia. People with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue have many a sleepless night and struggle with the choices that are out there.
I take opioids and muscle relaxers so the thought of adding a strong sleep aid is something I've always been afraid to take. I have had doctors prescribe Ambien but I've never taken it. I don't want to be on a lot of drugs, fall asleep and never wake up.
Maybe I shouldn't say I'm afraid. I have a healthy respect for drugs. They're powerful and shouldn't be taken lightly. I believe that doctors and pharmaceuticals have ingrained us with the belief that manufactured drugs are an easy fix. Even an antibiotic is powerful and we pop those like candy. Let me say, I'm not against drugs AT ALL. I just think that we need to be careful and examine what we take. I think we should have one doctor that knows everything we take and can monitor it. I do believe that our personal health care is fragmented. One doctor doesn't know what the other is doing. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could go to one place and have all the doctors treating our ills??
Anyway, back to the new sleep aid.
Merck has a new sleep drug before the FDA. It's called Suvorexant and it doesn't seem to have the same side effects as the sleep aids that are currently out there such as Ambien and Lunesta. What they do is act on the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA (and glutamate) act to control the levels of excitement in the brain. Basically what this new drug will do is force your brain to go to sleep. Glutamate is an excitotoxin and can cause us to get out of control (brain wise) and GABA steps up to the plate and calms things down. It gives our brains the ability to take a break from our thoughts going at a rapid pace and slow down. If glutamate is the green light.....GABA is a yellow light.
The new drug is in a class called Dual Orexin Receptor Antagonists or DORAs for short. The neurotransmitter orexin is responsible for wakefulness and appetite among others. Again, that little neurotransmitter promotes wakefulness and Suvorexant targets that baby and works on it and so far it seems safe at lower doses. If you look up Orexin you'll be astonished by this neurotransmitter and what it is involved with in our system.
Quite simply, this drug blocks orexin.
I think I can handle that.