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Is there a medication to help shift work disorder?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1852 Questions
Hi I just started working nights when my husband lost his job and we now have no insurance. Are you able to help with shift work disorder or prescribe medication to help with it?
Posted Sun, 27 May 2012 in Eating Disorders
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 7 hours later
Thanks for your query.
I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

Important aspects of your query are:
•     39 year old female
•     Known case of shift work disorder (SWD)
•     Concern related to no insurance cover

SWD is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. It is a clinically recognized condition that develops in some individuals who work at night, start work early in the morning (4 to 7 am), or work according to a rotating-shift schedule.

Shift work disorder is diagnosed by the presence of excessive sleepiness and/or insomnia for ≥1 month during which the individual is performing shift work.

In treatment following steps will help you:

Non Drug treatment:
1..Maintain sleep hygiene: Fix time to sleep and wake up. Do not take any nap. Do not use caffeine (tea, coffee and cold drink) till 4 hour before sleep, use bed only for sleep, do not watch television/use net till 1 hour before sleep.
2..Prevent bright light exposure before sleeping.
3..Use of coffee at start of work in night.

Drug treatment:
1..Melatonin supplement in day time (before sleep)
2..Tab Modafinil 100mg at start of work. It promote wakefulness. But you need prescription for it.
3..Short term use of hypnotic medicines like zolpidem 10mg, if you have sleep induction problem. But you need prescription for it.
*Stop medicine ASAP (2-4 week) after adjustment in job.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is there a medication to help shift work disorder? 7 hours later
For the prescriptions can you prescribe or refer me to a doctor who can. Thank you
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 6 hours later
Thanks for follow up,

For prescription you can visit nearby physician or psychiatrist for prescription. Till that time focus on non drug treatment as mentioned above.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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