Maui Business

UH Researcher & Wuhan Colleagues Study Insomnia Drug in Management of COVID-19

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Twenty researchers including Dr. Youping Deng with the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine, found beneficial effects of an insomnia drug on clinical outcomes in the management of COVID-19 patients.

The research team, which was co-led by a researcher from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, reviewed the charts of 323 COVID-19 patients in hospitals from Jan. 8 – Feb. 20.

A quarter of the patients were given Zopiclone, a prescription drug used to treat insomnia.  The study found that  77 of the 82 had better clinical outcomes and were discharged; and of the five who had unfavorable outcomes, one died.

“In their report, the teams noted that the patients usually showed strong anxiety, sleep deficiency, and oxygen insufficiency with disease progression. These findings suggest that better sleep quality and stress reduction may enhance the immune system and benefit admitted COVID-19 patients,” according to a JABSOM News report filed by Paula Bender.


Since only about 25% of patients in the study received the drug, researchers note that self-healing may occur without medical intervention in many cases.

The study was published on March 25, 2020, in MedRxiv: (

PC: UH JABSOM website.


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