The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the Sleepio app as an effective alternative to sleeping pills.
In its guide, NICE credits the app developed by the digital therapy company (DTx). great healthis a safe and effective treatment for people suffering from insomnia.
It adds that the app could save the NHS money and reduce prescriptions for drugs like zolpidem and zopiclone can be addictive.
The Sleepio app uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to provide people with customized digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).
WHY IT MATTERS
Studies show that almost a third of adults in the UK suffer from insomnia every week. NICE recommends CBT-I as a first-line treatment for insomnia, offered before or alongside medication. However, due to a shortage of trained therapists, CBT-I is not routinely available in the NHS for most people living with insomnia.
Clinical evidence from 12 randomized controlled trials submitted to NICE’s Medical Technologies Advisory Committee showed Sleepio to be more effective than sleep hygiene and sleeping pills in reducing insomnia.
THE GREATER CONTEXT
Since October last year adults in Scotlandwere able to access both the Sleepio app and Big Health’s DtX app for anxiety daylight.
Astudy published last yearfound that using Sleepio improved sleep, anxiety, and depression more than other psychological interventions alone.
Meanwhile also in Germany the DTx courseHello Better stress and burnoutwas recently approved by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for the treatment of stress, exhaustion, insomnia and depression.
ON THE RECORD
Jeanette Kusel, Acting Director of Medical Technology and Digital at NICE, said: “Our rigorous, transparent and evidence-based analysis has shown that Sleepio brings cost savings to the NHS compared to standard primary care treatments. It will also reduce the dependency of people with insomnia on addictive drugs like zolpidem and zopiclone.
“This is a good example of how digital health technology can help the NHS. Evidence has shown that using Sleepio will reduce the number of GP appointments people with insomnia require and will also reduce the number of sleeping pill prescriptions that are supplied by pharmacists.”
Colin Espie, Big Health co-founder and senior research professor, said: “With the increased demand for mental health support over the past two years, scalable and clinically proven digital technologies simply have to be part of the solution. Positive outcomes from NICE guidance are an important step towards that goal, helping to reduce the NHS care backlog and provide safe, evidence-based and accessible support to all who need it.”
dr Nick Broughton, CEO of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and board member of the Oxford Academic Health and Science Network (AHSN), said: “This is a significant moment for the NHS and for UK health innovation as a whole. Sleepio has the potential to transform current mental health pathways by expanding access to guideline-recommended care for everyone in England.”