The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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ISSUE
1444
In Brief: Lowering the Dose of Lunesta
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 Select a term to see related articles  Ambien   Eszopiclone   insomnia   Lunesta   sleep disorders   Sonata   Sublinox   Zaleplon   Zolpidem 

The FDA has required the manufacturer of eszopiclone (Lunesta – Sunovion), a benzodiazepine receptor agonist approved for the treatment of insomnia, to lower the current recommended starting dose to 1 mg for both men and women because a new study found that an evening dose of 3 mg can impair driving skills, memory, and coordination for more than 11 hours.1 Eszopiclone’s half-life is longer than that of any other drug in its class, which includes zolpidem (Ambien, and generics) and zaleplon (Sonata, and generics).

All benzodiazepine receptor agonists may impair performance the next morning, including driving.2 Anterograde amnesia and complex sleep-related behaviors without conscious awareness may also occur. Hallucinations have been reported. Like the benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine receptor agonists are schedule IV controlled substances; withdrawal, dependence, and abuse can occur.

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