9 million people use some sort of sleep aid to help with insomnia in the United States.
Lunesta is one of the most popular sleep aids on the market. It can help people with falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping longer.
But what is it? And are there any dangers to using Lunesta?
We will go over everything you need to know about this popular and powerful drug below.
What Is Lunesta?
Lunesta is the brand name for Eszopiclone. It belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics.
Lunesta impacts unbalanced brain chemicals which impact your sleep. It’s mostly used in the treatment of severe insomnia.
Lunesta is taken orally in tablet form. The tablets have either 1 mg, 2 mg, or 3 mg of eszopiclone and also include:
- Calcium phosphate
- Colloidal silicon dioxide
- Croscarmellose sodium
- Magnesium stearage
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Polyethylene glycol
- Titanium dioxide
How Is It Taken?
For adults, the recommended dosage to start with is 1 mg, and you should always take the lowest dose possible for you. This is important because patients who take 2 or 3 mg of Lunesta risk impairment the next day. This can impact driving or activities that need full awareness, such as operating heavy machinery.
Who Takes It?
Lunesta is only approved for adults who have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The people most likely to take sleep aids like Lunesta include older Caucasian women who have high educational attainment. As age increases, so does the use of sleep aids.
Before taking Lunesta, you should tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Thoughts about suicide
- Depression or other mental illness
- Lung disease or breathing problems
- Liver disease
A Brief History of Lunesta
Lunesta was initially approved by the FDA for the treatment of insomnia in December 2004. The FDA approved it after six different clinical trials were conducted, including a six-month-long double-blind trial that had over 780 subjects.
Lunesta Effects on the Body
While Lunesta is effective in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep, it does have some long and short-term health effects and impacts on your body.
Effects on the Mind and Body
The point of Lunesta is to fall asleep, so don’t take it during your normal waking hours. You should make sure you have at least 7-8 hours to sleep before taking it.
There have been instances of people taking Lunesta and then engaging in activities that they don’t remember later, such as driving, making phone calls, and eating. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor as Lunesta might not be right for you.
If you are traveling a long distance and have a lengthy car or plane ride, avoid taking Lunesta. You might be woken up before the medicine wears off and amnesia is more common if you don’t get a full 8 hours of sleep after taking the medication.
You should not take Lunesta if you’re pregnant as there haven’t been any rigorous or well-controlled trials of Lunesta use in pregnant women. It’s also unknown whether Lunesta is excreted in breast milk. As a result, a doctor should be consulted before a woman who is nursing takes Lunesta.
Long-Term and Short-Term Health Effects
Lunesta could cause severe allergic reactions. If you have any signs of a reaction, stop taking the medication and seek medical help. Signs of an allergic reaction include:
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat
- Difficulty breathing
Some other short-term side effects of Lunesta include:
- Drowsiness during the day
- A “hungover” feeling
- Cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sneezing, etc.)
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
A small group of people might experience more serious side effects, however. You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following after taking Lunesta:
- Confusion or hallucinations
- Aggression or agitation
- Memory problems
- Thoughts of hurting yourself
When you’re going to stop taking Lunesta, you should consult a doctor. If you’ve been taking it for a long time or taking a high dose, withdrawal symptoms can occur.
These symptoms could include vomiting, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, and abdominal cramping. Your doctor should be consulted so they can decrease your dosage gradually so you can avoid withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to the short term and long term effects of Lunesta, you should also be aware of potential interactions with other drugs.
Using Lunesta with Other Drugs
Lunesta should not be used with other drugs that slow your breathing or make you sleepy, such as narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, muscle relaxers, or medication for depression, anxiety, or seizures.
If you are taking any of the following, inform your doctor:
- Seizure medications
- Anti-anxiety medications
The interactions between these medications could have life-threatening effects.
Other drugs that could interact with Lunesta include over-the-counter medication, such as heartburn medicine or melatonin. Before you start taking Lunesta, be sure your doctor knows about any other prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Don’t stop taking any of your other prescribed drugs before talking to your doctor, however.
What Common Drugs Are Used with Lunesta?
You should refrain from any drug or alcohol use while taking Lunesta as well. If you drink alcohol while taking Lunesta, the nervous system side effects of the drug may be magnified. The interaction between the alcohol and the Lunesta could result in increased dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and drowsiness.
Before beginning Lunesta, be sure that your doctor is aware of any other medications you are taking. Consult them throughout the process and inform them of any serious side effects from the drugs.
While Lunesta has been shown to work, it might not be the best sleep aid for you. Your doctor can help you adjust that if necessary.
If you believe that you or someone you love are suffering from an addiction to Lunesta, contact us today to see how we can help. We have treatment services available for alcohol addiction as well as addiction to prescription and street drugs to help you take your life back into your own hands.