In a small group of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and symptoms of insomnia, treatment with the antidepressant vortioxetine significantly improved depression and sleep issues. Researchers published their findings online in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
The retrospective study evaluated 15 patients with MDD and reports of insomnia who received vortioxetine for depression.
Between baseline and follow-up, total and several subitem scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index significantly decreased among participants, indicating improved sleep quality and continuity. In addition, patient scores improved on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Beck Depression Inventory.
Researchers credit vortioxetine’s mechanism of action with possibly explaining improvements in subjective sleep and encouraged more studies into its use in people with depression and problems sleeping. Unlike selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, vortioxetine has a multimodal effect on serotonin transport and reuptake.
“Considering that sleep impairment is a frequent comorbid symptom in patients affected by major depressive disorder, we suggest the possible use of vortioxetine for treating depressive symptoms and improving sleep quality in patients showing comorbid depression and insomnia,” researchers wrote. “However, future studies investigating sleep by using polysomnography, the gold standard tool able to study sleep architecture, are invited in order to confirm this preliminary observation.”
Liguori C, Ferini-Strambi L, Izzi F, et al. Preliminary evidence that vortioxetine may improve sleep quality in depressed patients with insomnia: a retrospective questionnaire analysis. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2018 October 16;[Epub ahead of print].