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Rozerem Fact Sheet

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Medication Name (brand): 
Rozerem
Medication Name (clinical): 
ramelteon
Manufacturer: 

Takeda; patent expires 2017.

Indications: 

Indicated for both transient and chronic insomnia. Approved for sleep initiation but not for sleep maintenance.

Mechanism: 

A melatonin receptor agonist, with high affinity for the melatonin receptor subtypes MT1 and MT2. It has no affinity for the GABA receptors.

Dosing: 
  • Supplied as 8 mg orange-yellow tablets (breakable).

  • Start at 8 mg QHS for most patients. Elderly may require only half that dose. While higher doses than 8 mg are safe, the major company-sponsored study indicated that 16 mg is paradoxically less effective than 8 mg for patient with transient insomnia.

Side Effects: 
  • Appears to cause little in the way of next day fatigue or other impairment.

  • Abuse potential: One company-sponsored study showed that 14 patients with a history of drug abuse rated Rozerem as no more abusable than placebo.
  • Increases serum prolactin in women by an average of 34%.
  • Pregnancy Category C

Drug-drug Interactions: 
  • Additive effect when combined with alcohol and other drugs or medications that have sedative effects.

  • Fluvoxamine, ketoconazole, and fluconazole increase Rozerem levels.
  • Rozerem does not affect levels of other drugs

Pharmokinetics: 
  • Half life is somewhat confusing. While it is listed as “1-2.6 hours,” this refers only to the half-life of the parent drug. One if its metabolites, “M-II” is highly bioactive and has a half life of 2 to 5 hours. Thus, the overall half life may well be greater than 5 to 6 hours, depending on the individual. Since there is significant inter-individual variation in speed of metabolism, the duration of action will be very difficult to predict in a given patient.

  • No active metabolites. Metabolized in the liver by aldehyde oxidase.
  • Absorbed more slowly if taken after a meal.
  • Cut dose in half in hepatic insufficiency. No adjustments needed in renal impairment.

Pearls: 

Major advantage is a lower abuse liability; Rozerem is the only hypnotic that is not classified as a controlled substance. Major disadvantages are its effects on increasing prolactin in women and possibly decreasing testosterone in men.

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