Pear Therapeutics has announced the availability of Somryst, the only digital therapy for chronic insomnia authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration to date. (To read Psychiatric TimesTM previous coverage of Somryst and watch a video with Yuri Maricich, MD, chief medical officer of Pear Therapeutics.)
“We are thrilled to offer patients who have struggled to find a long-term solution for chronic insomnia with meaningful, first-line treatment,” Corey McCann, president and chief executive officer of Pear Therapeutics, said in a statement.
Somryst, a digital prescription therapy (PDT), offers 6 to 9 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) via tablet or smartphone. Clinical studies have appeared on the effectiveness of this therapy JAMA Psychiatry1, Lancet Psychiatry2, is BJ Psych Open.3 The prescription reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 45%, the time spent awake at night by 52%, and the severity of insomnia symptoms by 45%. The improvement continued 6 and 12 months after treatment.
30 million Americans currently suffer from chronic insomnia, but McCann noted that treatment options are particularly “important now, more than ever, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In fact, sleep disturbances skyrocketed during the pandemic. Nearly half of respondents to a Pear Therapeutics survey reported pandemic-related sleep loss. The number of poor sleep reports has nearly doubled (from 15% to 27%), and younger generations have been particularly affected, with nearly a third of Gen Z and Millennials admitting poor sleep quality.
Digital prescriptions can be good options for patients who cannot access a doctor. “Although CBTi is the recommended first-line treatment for chronic insomnia, there are not enough physicians trained to provide CBTi therapy,” Michelle Primeau, MD, medical director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Sleep Medicine Center in San Carlos, CA he told the press. “Somryst has been shown to address the underlying problems of chronic insomnia by training the brain and body to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.”
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1. Ritterband LM, Thorndike FP, Ingersoll KS, et al. Effect of Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Intervention with 1-Year Follow-up: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017; 74 (1): 68-75.
2. Christensen H, Batterham PJ, Gosling JA, et al. Effectiveness of an online insomnia program (SHUTi) for the prevention of depressive episodes (the GoodNight study): a randomized controlled trial. Lancet Psychiatry.2016; 3: 333–41.
3. Batterham P, Christensen H, Mackinnon A, et al. Trajectories of Change and Long-Term Outcomes in a Randomized Controlled Internet-Based Insomnia Treatment Trial to Prevent Depression. BJPsych Open. 2017; 3 (5), 228-235.