HomeDrug ClassesOrexin Receptor Antagonists

Orexin Receptor Antagonists: Uses, Common Brands, and Safety Info

Orexin receptor antagonists are a class of medications used to treat insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders. Common brands include Belsomra and Dayvigo. These medications work by blocking orexin receptors in the brain, promoting sleep and reducing awakenings. They may cause side effects like daytime sleepiness and dizziness, so it's important to follow the prescribed dosage and consult a healthcare professional.


Orexin receptor antagonists are a class of medications that work by blocking the activity of orexin receptors in the brain. Orexin is a neuropeptide that plays a crucial role in regulating wakefulness and appetite. By inhibiting the activation of orexin receptors, these medications help promote sleep and decrease food intake. Orexin receptor antagonists have shown efficacy in the treatment of insomnia and can be used as an alternative to other sleep aids.


Orexin receptor antagonists are primarily used in the management of insomnia, a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. These medications help regulate the sleep-wake cycle by promoting sleep initiation and reducing awakenings during the night. They are particularly helpful for individuals who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to insomnia caused by psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Additionally, orexin receptor antagonists have demonstrated potential in managing circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, such as shift work disorder or jet lag. Shift work disorder is a condition affecting individuals who work non-traditional hours, causing disruptions in their sleep patterns. Jet lag, on the other hand, occurs when rapidly traveling across multiple time zones. Orexin receptor antagonists might assist in resetting the sleep-wake cycle in these situations.

Common Brands

There are a few common brands of orexin receptor antagonists available on the market, each with their own specific formulation and dosing. It is important to note that availability may vary depending on the region or country: 1. Suvorexant (brand name: Belsomra): This is currently the only FDA-approved orexin receptor antagonist for the treatment of insomnia in the United States. It is available in tablet form, with different strengths to accommodate individual needs. 2. Lemborexant (brand name: Dayvigo): This medication is also approved for the treatment of insomnia in the United States. Similar to suvorexant, it is available in tablet form with different strengths. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication, as they can provide specific recommendations based on your medical history and individual needs.


Orexin receptor antagonists are generally considered safe when used as directed, but like any medication, they may have potential side effects. It is crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a healthcare professional before starting treatment. Common side effects of orexin receptor antagonists include daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headache, and dry mouth. These effects are usually mild to moderate and may resolve over time as the body adjusts to the medication. However, if these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to inform your healthcare provider. It is worth noting that orexin receptor antagonists can cause next-day impairment, especially in higher doses or if not given adequate time to sleep. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure a full night's rest before engaging in activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. As with any medication, it is important to adhere to the prescribed dosage and not exceed the recommended limits. Taking more than the recommended dose can lead to an increased risk of side effects and potential interactions with other medications. If you experience any unusual or severe side effects while taking orexin receptor antagonists, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.


Orexin receptor antagonists are a valuable class of medications used in the treatment of insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders. By targeting the orexin receptors in the brain, they help regulate sleep patterns and promote improved sleep quality. Common brands include suvorexant (Belsomra) and lemborexant (Dayvigo). While these medications are generally well-toler

List of Orexin Receptor Antagonists