Belsomra (suvorexant) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat insomnia (trouble sleeping). The drug comes as an oral tablet. It’s usually taken once per day at bedtime.

Belsomra is prescribed for adults who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Belsomra’s active ingredient is suvorexant. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It belongs to a group of drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists.

This article describes the dosages of Belsomra, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Belsomra, see this in-depth article.

This section describes the usual dosages of Belsomra. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Belsomra’s form?

Belsomra comes as a tablet that you swallow.

What strengths does Belsomra come in?

Belsomra comes in four strengths: 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg.

What are the usual dosages of Belsomra?

Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for insomnia

Your doctor will prescribe the lowest dosage of Belsomra that effectively treats your insomnia. When you first start treatment, you’ll likely take 10 mg once per day, 30 minutes before bedtime. If this dosage isn’t effective at helping you sleep, your doctor may increase your dose. The maximum recommended dosage is 20 mg once per day.

Is Belsomra used long term?

Yes, Belsomra is usually prescribed as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

Dosage adjustments

Belsomra’s effects may be greater and last longer in females* with obesity. If your dosage needs to be increased and you are a female with obesity, your doctor will monitor you closely for side effects.

* In this article, we use the term “female” to define sex assigned at birth. To learn more about the differences between sex and gender, read this article.

The dosage of Belsomra you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the severity of your insomnia
  • how your body responds to Belsomra
  • your age
  • your sex and body mass index (see “dosage adjustments” above)
  • other medications you may be taking

You’ll take Belsomra once per day, about 30 minutes before bedtime. Doctors recommend that you take Belsomra on evenings that you can have a full night’s sleep (at least 7 hours) before waking up.

Belsomra can be taken with or without food. But Belsomra works most reliably when taken on an empty stomach. If you take Belsomra with or shortly after a meal, the drug’s effect may be delayed. This means you may not fall asleep as quickly.

Belsomra comes as a tablet that you swallow. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Belsomra, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Belsomra can be taken as needed. So if you miss a dose, that’s all right. If you’re thinking about taking it later than usual, just make sure you still have time for a full night’s sleep (at least 7 hours). But if you need to wake up in less than 7 hours, you should skip the missed dose. You can then take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time the following evening.

If you’d like help remembering to take your dose of Belsomra on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Belsomra is a controlled substance and is classified as a Schedule IV prescription drug. This means it has some risk of misuse, so the federal government regulates how the medication is prescribed and dispensed. (With misuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it was prescribed.)

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a history of substance misuse or addiction. Your doctor will decide whether Belsomra is the best option for you.

If you have questions about the risk of misuse with Belsomra, talk with your doctor.

Do not take more Belsomra than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to harmful effects. In studies, people who took a large dose of Belsomra experienced excessive sleepiness during waking hours.

What to do in case you take too much Belsomra

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Belsomra. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Belsomra is a Schedule IV controlled substance. Schedule IV drugs have a low risk of causing dependence. (With dependence, your body needs the drug to function as usual.) But with controlled substances, it’s especially important to take your medication as prescribed to avoid developing dependence.

In studies, Belsomra didn’t cause dependence. And when treatment with the drug was stopped, people didn’t experience withdrawal symptoms. (Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on.)

If you have questions about the risk of dependence while taking Belsomra or the potential for withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Belsomra, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Belsomra’s dosage.

Is the dosage of Belsomra similar to the dosage of Ambien?

Belsomra and Ambien (zolpidem) have some similarities in their dosing, but they also have differences.

Both drugs come as tablets that you take before bedtime. Both drugs are best taken without food.

Belsomra is available in one tablet form. Ambien is available in two tablet forms that differ in how quickly they release the drug into your body.

Both drugs have a recommended starting dosage. One of Ambien’s forms has different starting dosages for males and females.*

To learn more about Ambien’s dosage, see this article. And if you have questions about how the dosages compare, talk with your doctor.

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Do older adults require a lower dosage of Belsomra?

Belsomra’s dosage isn’t usually lowered for adults ages 65 years and older. But depending on your overall health and risk of falling, your doctor may recommend a lower starting dosage of Belsomra.

Some older adults have an increased risk of falls. Also, as you get older, injuries from falls may be more serious.

Belsomra may cause drowsiness (sleepiness) or dizziness during the day. If you have either of these side effects, your risk of falling increases. But poor sleep also increases the risk of falls.

In addition to discussing your sleep hygiene, it’s important to tell your doctor if you’ve had balance problems or recent falls.

If you have questions about your dosage of Belsomra, talk with your doctor. They can provide more information about the best dosage for you.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Belsomra for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Belsomra without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Belsomra exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Does my dosage of Belsomra depend on my body weight?
  • Does a higher dosage of Belsomra increase the risk of side effects?
  • Can I take a second dose of Belsomra 10 mg if I can’t fall asleep?

To learn more about Belsomra, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.