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?
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
[Nizoral, Extina, Zolegel, Kuric]) may increase blood levels of eszopiclone and its sedative
PREGNANCY Use of eszopiclone during
pregnancy has not been adequately
Is eszopiclone safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
It is not known whether eszopiclone is excreted in
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).