eszopiclone, Lunesta

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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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 brand names are available for eszopiclone?

Lunesta (formerly known as Estorra)

Do I need a prescription for eszopiclone?

Yes

What are the side effects of eszopiclone?

The most common side effects of eszopiclone are:

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

Summary

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.

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See more info: eszopiclone on RxList
Reviewed on 4/3/2015
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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