eszopiclone, Lunesta

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GENERIC NAME: eszopiclone

BRAND NAME: Lunesta (formerly known as Estorra)

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Eszopiclone is a non-benzodiazepine, oral, sedative drug ("sleeping pill") that is used for treating insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 million Americans suffer from insomnia. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, waking up too early, an inability to fall back to sleep, or awakening in the morning not feeling refreshed. Most drugs that have been used to treat insomnia are benzodiazepines, for example, flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan), triazolam (Halcion), and temazepam (Restoril). Zolpidem (Ambien) was the first non-benzodiazepine approved for insomnia in over 20 years. Eszopiclone was approved by the FDA in December 2004.

GENERIC: Yes

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets of 1, 2, and 3 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Eszopiclone is used for the treatment of insomnia characterized by difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty maintaining sleep during the night and early morning.

DOSING: The usual dose to improve or maintain sleep in most adults is 2 or 3 mg before bedtime. Persons over the age of 65 years usually are treated with 1 or 2 mg. Eszopiclone should be taken immediately before going to bed since the onset of sedation may occur as rapidly as 10 minutes. It should be taken only by individuals who intend to sleep for at least 8 hours since its effects may last up to six hours. A high fat meal reduces the absorption of eszopiclone and may reduce its effect.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Alcohol (which causes sedation) and drugs that have sedating effects should not be used with eszopiclone since their sedating effects, when added to those of eszopiclone, may cause excessive sedation. Drugs that reduce the action of liver enzymes that break down eszopiclone (for example, ketoconazole [Nizoral, Extina, Zolegel, Kuric]) may increase blood levels of eszopiclone and its sedative effects.

PREGNANCY: Use of eszopiclone during pregnancy has not been adequately evaluated.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether eszopiclone is excreted in human breast milk. Because many medicines are excreted in breast milk and because the effect of eszopiclone on infants has not been studied, women should not breast feed while taking eszopiclone.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of eszopiclone are headache, drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, unpleasant taste, stomach upset, and loss of coordination. Eszopiclone is a controlled substance. Patients taking eszopiclone or any other sedative drug may become dependent on the drug for sleep and experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information


Last Editorial Review: 3/15/2012




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