Lunesta eszopiclone prescription sleeping pill
January 2 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Lunesta is a prescription sleep aid drug. It is promoted as helping people fall asleep quickly. The company promoting Lunesta claims it is one of the most extensively studied prescription sleep aids. And while there are many sleep aids available, Lunesta has all three of the following benefits:

Unlike some other sleep aids, Lunesta helps you sleep all through the night with fewer interruptions.
Lunesta does not lose its effectiveness over time as shown in a 6-month study.
Additionally, Lunesta is approved for long-term use. However, as with many sleep drugs, caution is advised since often long term side effects of medicines are found after they have been on the market for a few years.

Lunesta is indicated for the treatment of insomnia. In controlled outpatient and sleep laboratory studies, Lunesta administered at bedtime decreased sleep latency and improved sleep maintenance.

A better sleeping pill?
According to promoters, Lunesta breaks new ground on at least two counts. When taken at bedtime, the drug not only puts insomnia sufferers to sleep for a full six or seven hours; it also carries a low risk of grogginess the next day. This double-barreled approach offers a balm for those who tend to waken frequently during the night or too early in the morning. Second, Lunesta is the first prescription sleep drug that the Food and Drug Administration has essentially declared safe and effective for long-term use. In approving other sleep medications, including the widely used medications Ambien and Sonata, the FDA has consistently cautioned that they should be used for short periods usually no more than a week to 10 days because longer-term studies of their safety and effectiveness have not been done.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2012. Eszopiclone treatment for insomnia: effect size comparisons in patients with primary insomnia and insomnia with medical and psychiatric comorbidity.

Lunesta Dosage and Administration
The dosage of Lunesta should be individualized. The recommended starting dosage for most non-elderly adults is 1 mg a few minutes before bedtime. Lunesta dosage can be initiated at or raised to 2 mg if clinically indicated.

Older Patients
The recommended starting dose of Lunesta for elderly patients whose primary complaint is difficulty falling asleep is 1 mg immediately before bedtime. In these patients, the dose should not be increased since side effects of sleep drugs are more common in the elderly.

Lunesta side effects, adverse reactions
Some of the Lunesta side effects include unpleasant taste, headache, drowsiness and dizziness. A rare but serious concern is an allergic reactions, symptoms of which include breathing problems and swelling of the lips, tongue, or face. As with many sleeping pills, a common Lunesta side effect is confusion, especially in the elderly. Although amnesia occurs much more with Halcyon, short term memory loss is a bothersome Lunesta side effect.  And lastly, a worrisome Lunesta side effect is rebound insomnia, a condition where there is worse sleep on the night when Lunesta is not taken. Rebound insomnia is a term for when someone has even more trouble sleeping after they've stopped treatment, than they did before they starting taking the sleeping pill. Dependency on Lunesta may occur.