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Adverse reaction with suvorexant for insomnia: acute worsening of depression with emergence of suicidal thoughts
  1. Jeremy Petrous,
  2. Kevin Furmaga
  1. Psychiatry, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeremy Petrous, jeremy.petrous{at}


A 59-year-old woman on daily peritoneal dialysis for end-stage renal failure received care at an outpatient psychiatric clinic for her diagnoses that include major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and insomnia disorder. Although there was partial improvement in the patient’s mood and anxiety symptoms with antidepressant treatment, insomnia remained a persistent complaint despite adequate trials of different sleep medications. The novel hypnotic, suvorexant (Belsomra, Merck & Co.) was then initiated at the recommended bedtime dose of 10 mg and was followed by a 15 mg dose the following night. Within an hour after taking her second suvorexant dose, the severity of patient’s depression symptoms worsened and was accompanied by new onset of suicidal thoughts.

  • psychiatry (drugs and medicines)
  • unwanted effects / adverse reactions
  • sleep disorders
  • suicide (psychiatry)
  • depressive disorder
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  • Contributors JP, treating physician, wrote summary, background, case presentation, and contributed to references and editing. KF, wrote background, discussion, and references.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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