Quviviq side effects and how to avoid them

Quviviq is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved medication manufactured by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Quviviq is an orexin receptor antagonist used for the treatment of adult patients with insomnia and with difficulties with sleep onset or sleep maintenance. While Quviviq is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Quviviq include headaches and tiredness. Less common but more serious side effects can include worsening suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Learn more about the side effects of Quviviq and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Quviviq (daridorexant)?

Quviviq contains daridorexant, a sedative-hypnotic as the active ingredient. Daridorexant is a dual orexin receptor antagonist. It works by blocking the action of the neuropeptide orexin, a chemical produced by the brain that promotes wakefulness. This allows people to fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for longer, and to improve functioning during the day.

Is Quviviq addictive?

Quviviq may cause addiction, especially if you have a substance use disorder. Discuss your treatment plan with your doctor to ensure you take this medication safely.

Is Quviviq a narcotic?

Quviviq is not a narcotic. It belongs to a class of drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs). However, Quviviq is a federally controlled substance as it can be abused and lead to addiction.

Is Quviviq safe?

Quviviq may affect your ability to drive safely and think clearly. Speak to your doctor to discuss the side effects of Quviviq and how to take it safely.

What is the safest sleeping pill for the elderly?

First-line treatment in the elderly is nonbenzodiazepines (such as zolpidem and zaleplon). These are safer than older treatments such as antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines.

Quviviq dosage

Quviviq is available in tablet form in the following doses: 25 mg and 50 mg.

The recommended dosage is 25 mg to 50 mg at night, taken 30 minutes before going to bed, with at least 7 hours remaining to planned awakening. The maximum recommended dosage is 25 mg once per night if you have hepatic impairment. Quviviq is not recommended if you have severe hepatic impairment.

Please read the full prescribing information and medication guide for the complete drug information, and always speak with a healthcare professional for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

How many days does it take for Quviviq to work?

Quviviq normally works within 30 minutes of taking it but may take longer if you take it with or after food.

Quviviq side effects

The most common side effects of Quviviq in clinical trials compared to placebo include:

  • Headache
  • Somnolence (daytime sleepiness)
  • Fatigue

In rare instances, Quviviq can cause more serious side effects. These can include:

  • CNS-depressant effects – daytime impairment, motor coordination including morning impairment. Caution is advised with next-day driving
  • Worsening depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep paralysis, hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations, and cataplexy-like symptoms
  • Complex sleep behaviors – sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and engaging in other activities while not fully awake
  • Compromised respiratory function

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Quviviq and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report the adverse effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Does Quviviq cause weight gain?

Weight gain or weight loss are not reported side effects of Quviviq. Speak to your doctor if you experience changes in weight while using Quviviq.

Quviviq drug interactions

Quviviq can interact with other medications, including:

  • Moderate or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors
  • Moderate or strong CYP3A4 inducers
  • Azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole)
  • Certain HIV protease inhibitors (such as indinavir)
  • Rifampin
  • Opioid pain or cough relievers (codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana
  • Other drugs for sleep or anxiety (alprazolam, zolpidem)
  • Muscle relaxants (carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine)
  • Antihistamines (cetirizine, diphenhydramine) – may increase the risk of side effects such as shallow breathing, severe drowsiness, or dizziness

This list is not exhaustive, and other prescription drugs may interact with Quviviq. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Quviviq warnings & precautions

You should not use Quviviq if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient daridorexant
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Quviviq
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant

Talk to your doctor before using Quviviq if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Quviviq
  • Have a sleep disorder (narcolepsy)
  • Have any sleep problems such as sleep apnea
  • Have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Have a history of a sudden onset of muscle weakness
  • Have depression, or thoughts of suicide
  • Have a history of substance addiction
  • Have liver problems
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Quviviq, to make sure it is safe for you.

Quviviq vs zolpidem

At doses two or three times the maximum recommended dose, Quviviq has similar patient ratings to zolpidem (30 mg) and suvorexant (150 mg).

How to avoid Quviviq side effects

The best way to avoid side effects is to take Quviviq as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.

If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.

1. Stick to the recommended dosage

Take your prescribed dose of Quviviq that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Quviviq. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

3. Drink plenty of fluids

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.

4. Avoid alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol or other CNS depressants while taking Quviviq, as it can increase your risk of drowsiness and daytime sleepiness.

5. Don’t skip meals

Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

6. Check your feet

If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience problems with your feet while taking Quviviq.

7. Know the signs and symptoms of Quviviq side effects

Signs and symptoms of side effects include headaches and fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.

8. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Quviviq.

9. Get regular medical checkups

It is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may adjust your dose of Quviviq as needed.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.