In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the medication tasimelteon (found under the brand name Hetlioz) for the treatment of Non 24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder (Non-24) in blind individuals.
Tasimelteon is a melatonin receptor agonist. It works by targeting receptors in the brain that control the timing of the sleep-wake cycle. In clinical trials, totally blind individuals with Non-24 who were treated with tasimelteon slept longer during the night. Tasimelteon was also found to decrease the amount of time totally blind individuals with Non-24 slept during the day.
The most common side effects of tasimelteon include headache, elevated liver enzymes,nightmares or unusual dreams, disturbed night’s sleep, upper respiratory or urinary tract infection, and drowsiness.
Tasimelteon should be taken as prescribed by your physician. It should be taken at the same time every night before bedtime. Because it may impair activities that require complete mental alertness, people should not plan any activities other than preparing themselves for bed after taking it.