This systematic review assessed the quality of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on the treatment of insomnia disorder and their reporting of recommendations, while summarizing the evidence and providing guidance on an algorithmic approach to appropriate pharmacological treatment.
The PubMed and EMBASE databases, guideline repositories, and specialist association websites were searched. The quality of the CPGs was assessed using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) instrument, complemented by the AGREE-REX (Appraisal of Guidelines REsearch and Evaluation—Recommendations EXcellence). A multidisciplinary team identified the key clinical questions that a clinician would consider when taking an algorithmic approach to the use of medication for patients with insomnia disorder. By using a meta-synthesis approach, recommendations from the CPGs were characterized and summarized via a recommendation matrix.
A total of 10 records that met the inclusion criteria were included and appraised. Four CPGs were rated as high and 3 CPGs were rated as moderate in overall quality. Most of the CPGs recommended pharmacotherapy only if cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or other nonpharmacological interventions were unavailable, unsuccessful, or declined by patients. Recommendations on types of medicines and dose and duration of treatment varied and were nonspecific. Few of the CPGs provided recommendations on pharmacotherapy in special populations.
Indications for starting medications are the only common thread in all of the reviewed CPGs. The CPGs diverged in the choice of first-line pharmacotherapy, and most of the CPGs did not provide recommendations on all subsequent clinical considerations.