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- What is eszopiclone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for eszopiclone?
- Do I need a prescription for eszopiclone?
- What are the side effects of eszopiclone?
- What is the dosage for eszopiclone?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with eszopiclone?
- Is eszopiclone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about eszopiclone?
What is eszopiclone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What are the side effects of eszopiclone?
The most common side effects of eszopiclone are:
- dry mouth,
- 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.
What is the dosage for eszopiclone?
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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with eszopiclone?
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.
Is eszopiclone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
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.
What else should I know about eszopiclone?
What preparations of eszopiclone are available?
Tablets of 1, 2, and 3 mg
How should I keep eszopiclone stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of insomnia that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, waking up too early, and the inability to fall back to sleep. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Treatment & Diagnosis
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Hypnotics Drug Class Side Effects
Hypnotics are sleep medications used to treat different types of insomnia. There are a variety of hypnotic drugs, and they are grouped into five types. Benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines, selective melatonin agonists (these three drug types are classified as sedatives), antidepressants, and an orexin receptor agonist. Some hypnotics can be addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.
The side effects of hypnotics depend upon the drug used, but they may include:
- Dry mouth
- Rebound insomnia
Other side effects may include:
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Upset stomach
- Abnormal dreams
Hypnotics may have serious side effects and adverse effects, for example:
- Abnormal thinking
- Suicidal thinking
- Sleep paralysis
- Sleep driving and other complex behavior
- Exfoliate dermatitis
Hypnotic drugs available over-the-counter (OTC) include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and doxylamine (Unisom). Natural herbal supplements used for insomnia are melatonin and Valerian.
Do not drink alcohol while taking hypnotic drugs. Stimulants like caffeine or amphetamines reduce the effect of insomnia medications.
Your doctor or other health care professional will recommend the type of hypnotic drug for you depending upon the type of sleep problem you have, your current lifestyle habits, other medications you are taking, and any other medical problems you may have.
FDA. "Sleep Disorder (Sedative-Hypnotic) Drug Information." Updated: Jun 13, 2017.
Chawala, J, MD. "Insomnia Medication." Medscape. Updated: Aug 01, 2016.
InsomniaInsomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Sleep Aids And StimulantsInsomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a symptom and not a disease. The most common causes of insomnia are medications, psychological conditions, environmental changes and stressful events. Treatments may include non-drug treatments, over-the-counter medicines, and/or prescription medications.
Take the Sleep QuizTake our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep? Find out which medical treatments fight sleep deprivation, apnea, insomnia, and more!
zolpidemZolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Zolpimist, Edluar, [Tovalt ODT has been discontinued]) is a sedative medication prescribed for the treatment of insomnia. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.