Sleep app replaces insomnia pills

The drug regulator NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has recommended the Sleepio app as an effective alternative to sleeping pills.

Nearly a hird of adults in the UK experience insomnia symptoms each week.  NICE recommends cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia CBT-I, as the first-line treatment for insomnia, offered before or alongside medication. However, there is a lack of therapists trained to administer the treatment for insomnia so there it is not routinely available in the NHS for most people living with insomnia.

The Sleepio app uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to provide people with tailored digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

Clinical evidence presented to NICE’s medical technologies advisory committee from 12 randomised controlled trials showed that Sleepio is more effective at reducing insomnia than sleep hygiene and sleeping pills.

“Our rigorous, transparent, and evidence-based analysis has found that Sleepio is cost saving for the NHS compared with usual treatments in primary care. It will also reduce people with insomnia’s reliance on dependence forming drugs such as zolpidem and zopiclone,” said Jeanette Kusel, acting director for med tech and digital at NICE. “This is a good example of where a digital health technology can help the NHS. The evidence has shown using Sleepio reduces the number of GP appointments people with insomnia need and will also cut the number of prescriptions for sleeping pills delivered by pharmacists.”

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