Contrary to most other prescription sleep aids, Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is approved by the FDA for long-term use in the treatment of insomnia. The chemical structure of Eszopiclone is unrelated to benzodiazepines, and its effects are mediated by selective inhibition of a subset of GABA receptors called omega receptors.
- Eszopiclone is a fast-acting hypnotic agent: Effects are noticeable within 10-15 minutes after oral
administration, with peak effects at 1 hour after the dose. The total duration of action is
approximately 6 hours.
- Eszopiclone comes in tablets of 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg. The recommended starting dose is
2 mg for adults, and 1 mg for the elderly and those suffering from severe liver impairment.
- The dose can be increased as necessary, up to a maximum of 3 mg per day.
- Due to its rapid onset of action, Eszopiclone should be taken immediately prior to bedtime.
- As all hypnotic agents, Lunesta (Eszopiclone) can cause daytime drowsiness, amnesia (lapses in
memory), difficulties in concentration and impaired performance during the day. These
effects may be more pronounced in the elderly, or in those suffering from liver
- Abrupt discontinuation of treatment may cause a withdrawal syndrome
similar to benzodiazepines, characterized by rebound insomnia, agitation, tremors,
confusion, headaches, nausea and vomiting, etc.
- Eszopiclone should not be administered in combination with alcohol or other narcotic agents,
as the effects of these substances are cumulative and may cause excessive sedation and
- Unlike benzodiazepines, this medication does not suppress respiratory function to a significant
degree. However, caution is still recommended when administering Eszopiclone to persons
with impaired respiratory function.
- Lunesta (Eszopiclone) interferes with other medications (such as ketoconazole), and the dosage needs to
be decreased in these cases. By the same token, the dosage needs to be decreased when
taking Lunesta concomitantly with other medications with depressant effects on the
central nervous system (e.g., antihistamines agents used in the treatment of allergies).
- When administered to persons suffering from depression, Eszopiclone may aggravate the
symptoms of depression and unmask suicidal tendencies.
- There are no controlled studies regarding the administration of Eszopiclone to pregnant or
breastfeeding women. In animal studies, this medication has not been shown to impair the fetus.
However, due to the lack of evidence regarding its effects in humans, Eszopiclone should be
administered to pregnant women with extreme caution, and only if benefits are likely to
exceed the risks. It is unknown whether Eszopiclone is excreted in breast milk, therefore the
drug is best avoided by nursing mothers.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, but please note that it is not exhaustive and its accuracy is not guaranteed. For complete information on Lunesta (Eszopiclone), please consult a pharmacology monograph.
Return from "Lunesta" to "Sleep Facts"