Eszopiclone also known as Lunesta, is a popular class of sedative hypnotic medication. Eszopiclone is mainly prescribed for the treatment of insomnia.
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What is Lunesta?
Eszopiclone is classed a sedative hypnotic medication used mainly to treat Insomnia. It usually comes in the form of tablets that are to be taken orally under the brand name, Lunesta. Depending on the packaging, there may be anywhere 1–3 mg of Lunesta in the tablets.
Other ingredients include:
• Calcium phosphate
• Silicon dioxide
• Croscarmellose sodium
• Magnesium stearate
• Titanium dioxide
• Microcrystalline cellulose
• FD&C Blue #2
Mode of Action
While we may not yet know how Lunesta works exactly, it is believed that its mode of action involves interacting with GABA-receptor complexes. This interaction takes place at binding domains associated with benzodiazepine receptors.
Before taking Eszopiclone
• Before taking Eszopiclone, let your doctor know about any medication allergies. Carefully check the ingredients found in Eszopiclone to see if you are allergic to any of them.
• Your next step should be to let the doctor know if you are taking any other medication, whether prescriptions ones or not. This includes any herbal products, vitamins, or nutritional supplements, anti-fungals, antihistamines, etc.
This is necessary so that they can look for any potential interactions between the medications that you will be taking. Do not forget the ones that you plan to start taking in the future.
After taking Eszopiclone
• Eszopiclone may cause people to forget an activity that they have taken part in, such as making calls, driving, or eating. If you have a similar experience, then you will need to stop taking Eszopiclone and consult your doctor for an alternate treatment for your sleep disorder.
• Since consuming alcohol along with Eszopiclone might increase, some of the side effects, such as drowsiness, do not pair the two together.
• Stopping suddenly after taking Eszopiclone for a couple of days in a row might result in withdrawal symptoms. Try not to do that and reduce the dosage slowly every day until you can stop taking it.
• Since drowsiness during the daytime could be one of the side-effects you feel after having taken Eszopiclone, it is best to take precautions. That means, until you know how it will affect you, do not drive or do something equally risky after taking Eszopiclone for the first few times.
• In fact, since Eszopiclone can make you feel asleep, avoid taking it during the day. Only take the drug if you have at least 8 hours or more that you can allow yourself to sleep its effects off.
• Lastly, Eszopiclone should only be used by the person who it was prescribed to because it can be habit-forming. Do not share your Eszopiclone with others, especially if they have addiction or drug abuse history.
Ketoconazole/ CYP3A4-Inhibiting Drugs
Eszopiclone is eliminated by a metabolic pathway involving CYP3A4. Since the latter is inhibited in the presence of Ketoconazole, coadministration of Ketocoazole can increase the potency of Lunesta. The dose of Eszopiclone would need to be adjusted if the patient is also using a CYP3A4-inhibitor, such as:
When co-administered, Eszopiclone and alcohol can have an additive effect on the user’s psychomotor skills and must therefore be avoided.
Rifampicin induces the production of CYP3A4. Therefore, when used with Eszopiclone, Rifampicin will decrease the exposure of Eszopiclone by 80% or more. Thus, the dosage will need to be adjusted if Rifampicin and Eszopiclone are taken together.
Common Side Effects
Severe allergic reactions have been known to occur in people taking Lunesta. If that happens to you, then should stop taking the drug immediately and talk to your doctor. If the reaction is too severe, then get emergency medical help. Severe reactions may manifest in the following forms:
• Swelling in the throat, face, lips, or tongue
• Difficulty in breathing
Some of the more serious side effects that can result from the use of Eszopiclone are mentioned below. If you experience these symptoms, discontinue use and talk to your doctor:
• Behavioral changes
• Self-harm thoughts
Among the less serious side effects are:
• Mild skin rash
• Unpleasant taste in the mouth
• Memory/Focus problems
• Dry mouth
• Appetite loss
• Stomach pain
Women and Children
• Since there have been no clinical trials on the demographic of children younger than 18, Eszopiclone should not be used by this age group.
• Similarly, women who are breast-feeding or pregnant should consult their doctor before taking Eszopiclone. The discussion should include what benefits and risks may result from the use of Eszopiclone during pregnancy. Its effect on breast milk and the baby are also untested, thus it is better to take precautions.
No cases that show Lunesta causing withdrawal symptoms have yet been reported. However, the drug should be used smartly because it can cause the following withdrawal symptoms:
• Bad Dreams
• Upset stomach
Even then, only less than 2% people have reported to have experienced these adverse events. In any event, with the use of benzodiazepines, there is always a danger of developing physical and psychological dependence. The longer a psychoactive drug is used, the more the danger becomes probable.
If taken in accordance with safety guidelines, then Eszopiclone can be a boon for people who have trouble sleeping and spend the next day exhausted because of that. Take a step in the right direction and start using Eszopiclone in Australia as directed by your Doctor.