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New Anti-Insomnia Drug Accepted in Hong Kong

Eisai announced in July 2020 the acceptance of its anti-insomnia drug by the Hong Kong Department of Health.

Difficulty falling asleep or having trouble staying asleep are key features of insomnia. The lack of adequate sleep can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability. It is one of the most common sleep-wake disorders, affecting approximately 30 percent of adults worldwide. Good quality sleep is essential for good health, including brain health. Studies suggest an optimal sleep duration between seven and eight hours. Poor quality of sleep is associated with a wide range of health consequences, including an increased risk of hypertension, accidental injury, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke, dementia and adverse effects on mood and behaviour.

Japanese pharmaceutical company, Eisai Co., Ltd, developed an anti-insomnia drug to counter difficulties experienced by insomniac patients. The drug, DAYVIGO is a dual orexin receptor antagonist that inhibits orexin neurotransmission regulating sleep-wake rhythm by binding competitively to the two subtypes of orexin receptors (OX1R and OX2R). This attachment to the competitive antagonist by DAYVIGO enables the blocking of wake-promoting neuropeptides. This was explained to be the mechanism by which it balances sleep-wake circuitry by supressing excessive wake drive.

In June 2020, DAYVIGO was launched in the U.S. for the treatment of adult patients with insomnia and later launched in Japan and Hong Kong in July 2020. This would mark the first launch of DAYVIGO in Asia outside of Japan as Eisai looks to further expand its reach for approval in other Asian countries.

In Hong Kong, over 35 percent of adults are reported to have symptoms of insomnia. Older adults were shown to have a higher prevalence rate with many experiencing insomnia symptoms from months to years. Insomnia can impact an individual’s life by disruption of social abilities, such as long absenteeism and reduced productivity.

Eisai hope to continue its efforts to deliver DAYVIGO as a new treatment option to insomnia patients in Asia. Thereby helping to restore of daytime function and recovery for patients with insomnia by delivering an active daytime life through fast sleep onset and good quality sleep. [APBN]