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Therapy better than pills to treat insomnia

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An article in the January 2007 Worst Pills Best Pills Newsletter addresses new research showing that cognitive behavioral therapy may be more effective in treating insomnia than sleeping pills like Lunesta.

Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is an extremely popular drug in the U.S. to treat insomnia, with more than three million prescriptions dispensed and sales exceeding $250 million in 2005. In Europe, a similar drug called zopiclone (Imovane) is used to treat insomnia, though this drug is not legal in the United States.

“Cognitive behavioral therapy is a safer, more effective alternative to taking sleeping pills such as zopiclone or eszopiclone,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Lunesta has been reported to increase the risk of cancer among patients using this defective drug.