Eszopiclone, popularly known by the brand name Lunesta, is a prescription nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic (sedative) used to treat insomnia. It is advertised as the world’s number one sleep aid and classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance.
When to Take Lunesta
Lunesta should only be taken as directed by the advice of a doctor. Since Lunesta is a sleep medication, it is recommended that it only be taken when a person has eight or more hours set aside for sleeping.
Possible side effects include the following:
- Nausea or other stomach pain
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Unusual or unpleasant tastes in mouth
- Skin rashes
The most serious side effects include:
- Behavioral changes, including aggressive or agitated behavior
- Suicidal or self-harming impulses
- Visual or auditory hallucinations
There are a number of possible allergic reactions that can occur when taking Lunesta, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Though rare, Lunesta can also cause temporary memory loss. If you find you have engaged in activities such as driving, eating, having sex, or talking on the phone and cannot remember doing so afterwards, it is advised that you cease taking Lunesta and discuss alternative treatments with your doctor.
Precautions to Take Before Using Lunesta
Before taking Lunesta, tell your doctor if you suffer or have suffered from any of the following health problems:
- Liver disease
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- A history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts
- A history of drug or alcohol addiction
If stopping use of Lunesta, withdrawal reactions may occur, especially if the drug has been used over a long period of time or was taken in high doses. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Drowsiness and lethargy during waking hours
- Panic attacks
- Muscle cramps
- Increased insomnia
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Change in weight
In extreme cases, the following withdrawal symptoms may be experienced:
Doses above two milligrams are not recommended for people who have severe liver disease. Additionally, Lunesta has been classified FDA pregnancy category C. Women with nursing children, pregnant women, and women who are considering becoming pregnant may be advised against using Lunesta, as it may harm the unborn baby or pass into the mother’s breast milk and harm a nursing child.
Decreased fertility has been reported in both males and females in animal studies, especially in animals treated with high dosages. Other effects related to pregnancy and fertility that have been reported include pre-implantation loss, abnormal estrus cycles, decreases in sperm number and motility, and increases in morphologically abnormal sperm.
Interactions with Other Drugs
According to the website Drugs.com, 580 drugs are known to interact with Lunesta, including 3,520 brand and generic medications. Among the most commonly prescribed are:
- Celebrex (celecoxib)
- Cymbalta (duloxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Lyrica (pregabalin)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
- Synthroid (levothyroxine)
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Drugs and Medications: Lunesta Oral. WebMD. Web. 07 January 2013.
- Lunesta. Drugs.com. Web. 07 January 2013.
- Lunesta. Rx List. Web. 07 January 2013.
- Medications and Drugs. Emedicinehealth. Web. 07 January 2013.
- Lunesta Addiction Symptoms, Potential and Help. Rehabinfo. Web. 07 January 2013.