Treatment of insomnia in older adults. Recommendations of the Polish Sleep Research Society, Polish Society of Family Medicine and the Polish Psychiatric Association
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III Klinika Psychiatryczna i Ośrodek Medycyny Snu, Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Katedra i Klinika Psychiatrii, Warszawski Uniwersytet Medyczny
Klinika Choroby Wieńcowej i Rehabilitacji Kardiologicznej, Narodowy Instytut Kardiologii w Warszawie
Katedra i Zakład Medycyny Rodzinnej, Uniwersytet Medyczny we Wrocławiu
Katedra i Klinika Psychiatrii, Uniwersytet Medyczny we Wrocławiu
Submission date: 2023-01-11
Final revision date: 2023-02-21
Acceptance date: 2023-02-23
Online publication date: 2023-06-30
Publication date: 2023-06-30
Corresponding author
Adam Wichniak   

III Klinika Psychiatryczna i Ośrodek Medycyny Snu, Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Psychiatr Pol 2023;57(3):495-516
Insomnia is one of the most common health problems in developed countries. Its prevalence increases with age, with up to one in two people over the age of 65 experiencing symptoms of insomnia. The older people are also the patients who mostly commonly are among chronic sleep medication users. The aim of this article is to present the current recommendations for the management of insomnia in people over 65 years of age. The recommendations were prepared as a position of an expert panel, which included people from a number of clinical disciplines: family medicine, cardiology, psychiatry, sleep medicine and clinical psychopharmacology. The first step in treating sleep disorders is to establish proper diagnosis and, if possible, to initiate causal treatment. Moreover, cognitive and behavioural therapy for insomnia should also be used as the primary form of treatment, which can be supplemented, if not sufficiently effective, with pharmacological treatment. The main group of drugs used for treating insomnia are nonbenzodiazepine sedative hypnotics (zolpidem, zopiclone, eszopiclone, zaleplon). However, these drugs do not fully meet the needs of people over 65 years of age, primarily with regard to treatment safety. Therefore other classes of medicines, which are used for treatment of mental disorders, are prescribed off-label in this group of patients. Melatonin in a prolonged-release form is also indicated for this age group due to the high safety of the therapy. The management of insomnia in people over 65 years of age is a challenging task, given the need to seek compromise between treatment efficacy and safety. The treatment plan also has to take into account comorbidities as well as drugs used to treat them.
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