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New Drug May Cure Jet Lag

Photo Credit: Joshua DavisPhoto Credit: Joshua Davis

A new drug developed by researchers helps the body produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin and could get rid of problems caused by jet lag and shift work.

They developed a drug called tasimelteon, also known as VEC-162, and studies show that it helps people sleep longer and deeper.

Researchers from Monash University, The Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston), Harvard Medical School and Vanda Pharmaceuticals claim that this drug could be a treatment for circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Their findings were published in the Dec. 1 issue of The Lancet medical journal.

“Our studies show that tasimelteon is able to effectively shift the rhythm of melatonin levels in the body, which are a well-established marker of the human biological clock,” said Dr. Shantha Rajaratnam from Monash University's School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine.

They also state that this drug could potentially improve sleep quality and quantity for people. Their studies showed that it improved a person’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep when bedtime was shifted by five hours.

He also stated that this drug could help people who work at night or early in the morning. “An estimated one in five work outside the regular nine-to-five pattern. In the United states alone it is estimated 19.7 million people start work between 2.30 and 7 am,” Dr Rajaratnam said. “Our work has shown the drug to be highly potent, having the strongest effect when first taken; a single dose treatment was found to be effective for this type of sleep disturbance.”

The drug is currently in Phase II and Phase III of trials but still needs much more testing in order to be available to consumers.

 

Source: Monash News Release

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