By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: April 5, 2023
Lunesta Side Effects
Lunesta is the brand name for the generic drug eszopiclone. It is a sedative and part of the non-benzodiazepine drug class. But because of its high potential for addiction, abuse, and dangerous interactions with other substances and medications, doctors only prescribe Lunesta as a short-term treatment method for insomnia. The user may probably experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using this substance after abusing it for a long time and in large doses, especially if they stop abruptly. In addition, people frequently abuse Lunesta with alcohol and opioid drugs, increasing the risk of dependence and overdose. Medically-assisted Lunesta detox and rehab can provide tools and resources to get sober.
Lunesta affects Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidreceptors (GABA). This medicine helps patients fall asleep and stay asleep by reducing brain activity and slowing the central nervous system. It is also referred to as a “z-drug” because it is considered to have a lower tendency for addiction. However, it can still trigger addiction after regular use or abuse. According to Women’s Health, Women may be more prone to abusing sleeping pills than men, as two-thirds of the emergency department visits for the non-medical use of sleeping pills were for women in 2010.
Lunesta or sleeping pill addiction can severely disrupt someone’s life. Like other sleeping pills, people addicted to this drug can find themselves sleeping too much, feeling drowsy, or getting into accidents because of the drug. Additive effects occur with the concurrent use of other CNS depressants like alcohol, antidepressants, and opioids. This is according to the US Food and Drugs Administration . Severe physical and psychological side effects can occur due to Lunesta abuse.
Short-term side effects for Lunesta abuse may include the following:
- Coordination impairment.
- Memory loss.
Long term side effects of Lunesta abuse may include the following:
- Memory loss.
- Lasting cognitive problems.
- Suicidal thoughts or actions.
- Muscle twitching.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Liver and kidney damage.
Common Signs of Lunesta Addiction
If a person is addicted and needs to start the Lunesta detox treatment, some of the following signs may apply:
- Taking the drug for longer than prescribed initially.
- Isolating themselves from friends and loved ones.
- Crushing and snorting Lunesta pills.
- Taking larger or more frequent doses of Lunesta than prescribed.
- Mixing Lunesta with other drugs.
- Feeling as though they can’t stop taking Lunesta.
- Having cravings for Lunesta.
Common Lunesta Withdrawal Symptoms
The Lunesta detox process brings withdrawal symptoms, which may vary. Lunesta affects GABA receptors in the brain. Generally, substances that affect GABA have the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. If someone suddenly tries to stop using Lunesta after using it for years, they will probably have significant withdrawal symptoms.
Rebound symptoms are a few of the most typical Lunesta withdrawal signs and symptoms. The symptoms that the medication was first used to alleviate are known as rebound symptoms. When someone goes through withdrawal, these symptoms may be more severe than initially. For instance, persistent sleeplessness is a symptom of rebound withdrawal from Lunesta. Other common Lunesta withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping.
- Nightmares or vivid dreams.
- Problems with memory.
- Changes in mood or mood swings.
- Shakiness or weakness.
- General sleep problems.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Lunesta Detox Withdrawal Timeline
The time it takes to stop taking Lunesta can differ significantly. First off, those who used Lunesta for a brief period of time and in low doses could not experience withdrawal symptoms. Those who have used the substance frequently and heavily, however, may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks or months.
Most people experience withdrawal symptoms one to two days after taking their last Lunesta dose. Typically, insomnia and anxiety are the first signs. Lunesta withdrawal symptoms often peak three to seven days after stopping the drug. Symptoms become milder within about three weeks and eventually disappear for most people. However, if you are among those heavily dependent upon Lunesta, ongoing withdrawal symptoms may occur up to eight weeks after taking the last drug dose.
Lunesta Fact Sheet
Also Known As: Eszopiclone
Availability: Prescription needed
Pregnancy: Consult a doctor
Alcohol: Avoid. Very serious interactions can occur
Drug class: Nonbenzodiazepine
Is Lunesta A Sedative?
Sedative-hypnotic Lunesta is frequently prescribed to treat sleep disturbances. Its potential for addiction is minimized because it is a prescription medication and is frequently accepted as a secure sleep aid.
Lunesta And Pregnancy
Although sedative-hypnotic medications like Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), and Sonata (zalepion) are frequently prescribed to women with sleep problems, there is currently insufficient information about their safety during pregnancy.
What Drug Class Is Lunesta In?
Eszopiclone is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic medication used to treat insomnia and is sold by Sepracor under the trade name Lunesta. It is the zopiclone active stereoisomer and a member of the cyclopyrrolone medication class.
The first and only hypnotic approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the long-term treatment of insomnia is Sepracor’s Lunesta (eszopiclone) 1mg, 2mg, and 3mg tablets, which are now accessible by prescription in the majority of US pharmacies.
Lunesta And Alcohol
Due to how they affect the brain’s GABA receptors, sleeping medicines like Lunesta already have a high potential of leading to dependence. The risk of psychological dependence is higher among people who have a history of mental diseases, substance misuse, or alcoholism.
Although Lunesta is not a benzodiazepine or an opioid, using it with alcohol can have the same disastrous effects as taking other depressants. There are several cumulative consequences when CNS depressants are used with one another, including the potential for deadly overdose.
Those who are prescribed Lunesta are very explicitly told not to take it if they have taken alcohol in warning labels and prescription guidelines. This is due to the fact that Lunesta overdoses and fatalities have only ever happened in conjunction with alcohol and other depressants.
Combining CNS depressants can result in users becoming extremely sleepy and having problems breathing because of how CNS depressants work. While Lunesta by itself may help a person feel calm, using it alongside other depressants increases the risk of serious adverse effects.
Lunesta Addiction Statistics
Lunesta addiction is real and dangerous. Many cases have been reported of people abusing this drug and experiencing dangerous side effects from Lunesta. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States estimate that 10 million Americans use prescription sleep medications like Lunesta.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2018, approximately 1.9 million people aged 12 or older reported misusing sedatives, including Lunesta, in the past year. Misusing sedatives can lead to addiction, dependence, and other health problems.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that in 2017, there were over 4,400 admissions to substance abuse treatment programs for primary abuse of non-benzodiazepine sedatives, which includes Lunesta.
It’s also worth noting that long-term use of Lunesta or other sedatives can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when the medication is discontinued. This is why it’s important not to exceed the recommended dosage or frequency of use and to seek medical guidance before quitting the medication.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Lunesta addiction or misuse, it’s essential to seek help from a healthcare provider or a substance abuse treatment professional. They can provide guidance and support in safely discontinuing the medication and developing a recovery plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States estimate that 10 million Americans use prescription sleep medications like Lunesta.
According to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study, about 21 million Americans admitted to abusing prescription sleeping pills like Lunesta at least once.
According to a 2016 study, people who regularly take hypnotics and sleep aids like Lunesta have a 15% higher risk of dying at night from respiratory suppression.
Most Popular Lunesta Side Effects FAQs
What are the Lunesta long term side effects?
If you are wondering, “what are normal lunesta long-term side effects?”, “what are the side effects of lunesta?”, “what is lunesta side effects?”, or “what are side effects of lunesta?”, the answer is the Lunesta side effects long term are memory loss, long-term cognitive issues, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, anxiety, twitching muscles, tinnitus, light sensitivity, liver and kidney damage, hallucinations.
Is Lunesta side effects weight gain common?
if you are wondering, “is lunesta weight gain side effects normal?”, the answer is Diphenhydramine can cause increased hunger and fatigue, which can make a person less active, which can lead to weight gain. Other sleep medications including eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zolpidem (Ambien) have not been connected to weight gain.
Is it typical to experience Lunesta side effects weight loss?
A fairly uncommon side effect of Lunesta is weight loss. Some users of this medication experience accidental weight loss, which may be related to its unpleasant or bitter aftertaste and dry mouth, which can cause an appetite reduction.
Medically Assisted Lunesta Detox
There is a massive difference between cold-turkey detox and medically-assisted Lunesta detox. With a cold-turkey detox, someone addicted to Lunesta suddenly stops taking the drug. Unfortunately, a sudden stop will trigger intense physical and emotional symptoms in the client within twelve hours after the last dose. In some instances, these symptoms can be dangerous.
Medically supervised Lunesta detox seeks to lessen these risks with a tapering off schedule and the supervision of trained, qualified medical staff. In a medically assisted detox center, clients are given decreasing doses of Lunesta or a replacement non-benzodiazepine. By tapering off the dosage, the drug can stay in the client’s system for reducing amounts over time. This is much gentler on the body and prevents painful, intense, and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If someone can safely detox in a controlled and supportive environment, they’re at less risk of experiencing a relapse because of the pain of withdrawal.
The FDA approves specific medications to use with some drugs during the withdrawal and detox process. On the other hand, there is no specific Lunesta drug utilized during detox and withdrawal. Instead, a medical team will typically assess the patient to see whether they may benefit from taking medications that would keep them safer and more comfortable.
The goal of Lunesta detox is to assist the user in quitting the medicine while minimizing withdrawal symptoms and maintaining overall health. A patient may also be examined for co-occurring mental health issues while undergoing Lunesta detox. The detoxification phase is when treatments for various illnesses may begin. Lunesta detox may take a long time. This needs to be monitored by the medical team.
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We understand how behavioral disorders and secondary co-occurring addiction diagnoses directly impact each other. We Level Up Florida can instill a support system through our mental health treatments that can make you feel valuable. Call us now for a free mental health assessment! Inpatient medical detox and primary residential addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up Treatment Fort Lauderdale.
Search Lunesta Side Effects Topics & Resources
 Women’s Health – Lunesta Detox Process https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19932088/sleeping-pill-dangers/
 FDA – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/021476s030lbl.pdf
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548047/ plus Lunesta Side Effects and overdose.
 SAMHSA – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm. Lunesta Side Effects and treatments.
 FDA – https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/taking-z-drugs-insomnia-know-risks. Lunesta Side Effects risks.
RxList. (2015). “Lunesta”. Retrieved on October 30, 2015 from: http://www.rxlist.com/lunesta-drug/side-effects-interactions.htm. Lunesta Side Effects and interactions.
Care2. (2014). “3 Reasons to Break the Sleeping Pill Habit + How to Sleep Better Naturally”. Retrieved on October 30, 2015 from: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/3-reasons-to-break-the-sleeping-pill-habit-how-to-sleep-better-naturally.html
eHealthme.com, “Could Lunesta Cause Alopecia?” (2012) http://www.ehealthme.com/ds/lunesta/alopecia
MedicalNewsToday.com Comment Forums, “Informing Sepracor About Lunesta Problems,” retrieved 11 July 2012
Daniel F. Kripke, M.D., http://www.darksideofsleepingpills.com/ch2.html