Millions of Americans have trouble falling and staying asleep. So they turn to prescription sleep medicines like Lunesta for relief. According to ClinCalc.com, Lunesta is one of the 300 most commonly prescribed medications.
Because Lunesta is prescribed, there is a misconception that it is a safe drug. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sedative-hypnotic medications such as Lunesta can produce negative withdrawal symptoms.
What’s more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) slapped a warning label on prescription sleep medicines in 2019 because of their potential to cause daytime drowsiness the next day after use.
Read on to learn more about Lunesta withdrawal and its harmful effects.
Lunesta is the brand name for eszopiclone. It is a sedative-hypnotic medication that is prescribed to treat insomnia. Lunesta comes as a tablet in 1 milligram (mg), 2 mg, and 3 mg strengths.
Lunesta’s mechanism of action is not known. However, it is believed that drugs like Lunesta work to boost the amount of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), the neurotransmitter responsible for slowing down your central nervous system.
Lunesta is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic that does not carry the harmful effects of benzodiazepines. That does not mean that it doesn’t come with damaging effects.
In fact, the FDA recommended that users lower their initial dose of Lunesta to 1 mg instead of 2 mg because of the threat of next-day drowsiness. The next-day drowsiness after use can hamper a user’s ability to drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery. But that’s only one of the sleep drug’s many side effects.
Like other medications, Lunesta is capable of generating several common and serious side effects.
According to MedlinePlus.gov, Lunesta can produce effects, such as:
It is also capable of producing serious side effects, which include:
Lunesta can also trigger dependence and addiction, particularly when users exceed the recommended dosage or use it longer than necessary. Lunesta dependence is established when abruptly stopping causes someone to develop bodily disturbances. Those disturbances are referred to as withdrawal symptoms.
Lunesta is used to end insomnia, but one of its common side effects after users decide to quit is rebound insomnia. Rebound insomnia is very common following the withdrawal of eszopiclone and other forms of sleep aids, leading to a worse state of mental imbalance.
Common side effects of Lunesta withdrawal are:
Higher dosages (2 milligrams and more) can cause more severe symptoms in the body, such as anxiety, strange or abnormal dreams, hyperesthesia, upset stomach, and nausea. Unpublished studies claim that withdrawal from 6 mg to 12 mg and up can lead to potent euphoric effects.
As mentioned previously, Lunesta is one of the least problematic sleeping aids when it comes to strong withdrawal symptoms. Every milligram intake in a wide variety of users can have distinct side effects during its use and after withdrawal.
The Lunesta withdrawal timeline varies between each person. However, it’s safe to say symptoms begin to appear in just a day to a week after use has stopped. During the first few days, users may notice that they may start to feel uneasy. The troubling aspect of Lunesta withdrawal is the fact that it can be prolonged after several months. Some users have prolonged hurdles, such as:
Within just a couple of days, the first withdrawal signs have taken effect on the body. These include rebound insomnia and anxiety.
During this time, if the user has not consumed any more milligrams of Lunesta, insomnia begins to decrease its intensity.
Post-users may feel fatigued in some instances. Sleeping problems can still prevail in some cases.
Depending on the person, symptoms will be present for the upcoming weeks, but they will be mostly mild.
The short answer is a few weeks. But the reality is it can last a few months. Consuming 1 mg (milligram) during the period of ingestion can have significantly better results for users than for those who have taken higher dosages.
The FDA found that consumption of 3 mg or higher of Lunesta can cause impairment of certain brain functions for up to 11-plus hours after an evening dose. It’s safe to deduce that the more milligram intake, the more the body embraces the drug’s ramifications on the body.
Keeping this in mind after withdrawal, the symptoms can be more aggressive and last for a longer period. To avoid drawn-out symptoms (weeks to months), it’s a smart idea to take a detox treatment that will expel all remaining toxins left by the drug.
The first, and probably the most important step in eliminating Lunesta addiction and withdrawal, is a full medical detox. Many people should visit a doctor to help them take the correct course of action before or after they quit consuming Lunesta.
Doctors supervise detox programs, which are never the same for everyone. They take into consideration what drug (in this case, Lunesta) and the amount of drug the user has taken.
Some programs take a few days, while others take a few weeks or more. Certain detox programs offer on-site recovery, while others use partial hospitalizations. It depends on the recovering user’s needs.
Detox programs are aimed at helping the drug withdrawal process flow smoother for the person in recovery.
It removes toxins and eases the body to adapt to normality and steers toward a balanced and healthy life. Many people fail to rid themselves of drug addiction because they don’t seek proper medical detox recovery.
Detox helps users alleviate concerning withdrawal symptoms with the help of specific prescribed medications, helping to diminish and cure negative manifestations.
Most of the time, people who instantly quit (cold turkey) have a hard time with the withdrawal process. It’s not an easy undertaking, which is why detox is crucial. Detox will substitute angst with therapy. These treatments provide a hefty medical staff and a safe environment to help prevent relapse.
Dennis, B. (2014, May 15). Wake-up call: FDA lowers starting dose of sleep drug Lunesta, citing safety concerns. from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/05/15/wake-up-call-fda-lowers-starting-dose-of-sleep-drug-lunesta-citing-safety-concerns/?utm_term=.9fbc2594263a
“Lunesta (Eszopiclone): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses.” RxList, from http://www.rxlist.com/lunesta-drug.htm
MedlinePlus.gov. (n.d.). Eszopiclone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605009.html
Preidt, R. (n.d.). FDA Puts Tough Warning Label on Ambien, Lunesta, Other Sleep Aids. from https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-04-30/fda-puts-tough-warning-label-on-ambien-lunesta-other-sleep-aids