Not sleeping for the duration of Lunesta’s effect can result in serious side effects, including behavioral changes, such as risk-taking, and aggressiveness, memory loss, hallucination and loss of motor control.
Lunesta (eszopiclone) is a sedative-hypnotic used to help people who suffer from insomnia. The drug interacts with the GABA receptors in the brain, which assist in the regulation of a person’s sleep patterns.
Like any other sleep drug, however, when the medicine is not administered properly, unpleasant side effects can ensue.
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Major Side Effects of Lunesta
There are some common side effects reported by Lunesta patients. Many Lunesta users notice a metallic taste in their mouth. Sometimes this is accompanied by other changes in taste. Advice for dealing with this unpleasant taste includes:
- Taking the pill whole
- Drinking something acidic (orange juice, for example)
- Using chewing gum or mouthwash.
People also often experience sleepiness even after a good night’s sleep with Lunesta. To prevent this, patients should schedule 7-8 hours dedicated to sleeping. It’s also important not to exceed a dose of 2-3 mg (starting from 1 mg). To avoid drowsiness, do not drink alcohol while taking Lunesta and do not mix Lunesta with other medicines, such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants or cold medicine.
Major side effects of Lunesta include:
- “Hangover” feeling
Less common side effects of Lunesta include:
- Fever and cold-flu like symptoms
- Lower back and side pain
- Nerve pain
- Difficulties with urination and bladder pain
- Lack of appetite
Minor Side Effects of Lunesta
Some patients report:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Swelling of the breasts (in both men and women)
- Heavy bleeding and cramps (women)
- Decreased sexual interest
- Inability to keep an erection (men)
Emotional and Behavioral Effects of Lunesta
Lunesta users have reported some unusual emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes.
Significant side effects that affect emotion and cognition are:
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Trouble concentrating
- Negative thoughts
- Agitation and irritability
- Abnormal and suicidal thoughts
If you notice any abnormal changes, contact your doctor.
Side Effects of Mixing Lunesta With Alcohol or Other Drugs
Due to the adverse effects, it is not recommended that you mix Lunesta and alcohol. Alcohol magnifies and enhances the side effects of Lunesta and vice versa, as both are central nervous system depressants. Due to this, the combination could affect movement, coordination, and dexterity.
Alcohol can also increase side effects within the nervous system, such as inducing dizziness and impairing concentration abilities. Furthermore, the combination can bring on severe bouts of depression and recklessness, such as suicidal thoughts or instigating violence.
Mixing Lunesta and alcohol can also lead to a state of not being fully awake the following day. This can lead to a variety of health hazards, endangering both the person under the influence and others, particularly in the case of driving or operating any kind of machinery or vehicle.
Other drugs, especially if they are narcotics, make the combination even more deadly and have the potential to induce a coma or even death.
Preventing Lunesta side effects
Get a full night’s sleep (7-8 hours) after taking Lunesta, and do not take it with other medication or alcohol. Drink a full glass of water with the pill and do not take more than the prescribed dosage.
Lunesta and Pregnancy
There are no adequate studies of the effects of Lunesta on pregnant and nursing women.
Administration of the drug, however, should always be prescribed by a doctor, and only when the potential benefits justify the potential risk to the fetus.
Rare Side Effects
Lunesta also has rarer side effects. One of those side effects is hypersensitivity, such as swelling of the tongue, throat, and larynx. These are all indicative traits of going into anaphylactic shock. If you experience any of these side effects then you should immediately seek medical assistance and find a substitute sleep medication.
Another rare side effect of Lunesta induced anaphylactic shock is alopecia (baldness). This can develop due to a severe allergic reaction, however, it is far less common than other reactions.
Lunesta can also induce ocular side effects, such as conjunctivitis or photophobia, which can both stem from the severe dehydration caused by the drug. This can generally be avoided by staying hydrated when taking the medication.
One of the more serious rare side effects is somnambulism. Sleepwalking occurs far more commonly when Lunesta is mixed with other drugs such as alcohol. It usually entails someone having an entire conversation whilst asleep but can be far more extreme with people being known to leave their houses, engage in sexual activity or even binge on food all while asleep.
Lunesta, Side Effects On Mental Health
In some cases, anxiety can be the cause of sleep deprivation and the initial reason for a Lunesta prescription. However, when going through withdrawal from the drug, anxiety is a major negative symptom. Therefore if anxiety is the main reason for your sleep deprivation, it is probably wise to find an alternative solution, rather than Lunesta use.
Another side effect is depression or suicidal thoughts. These kinds of side effects highlight why health professionals place such an emphasis on counseling after detox, as depression may lead back to Lunesta or even other drug abuse. Furthermore, it highlights how important support is in any case of regular drug intake, even for medicinal purposes.
Other side effects, such as memory loss can also have an effect on mental health. Similarly to amnesia, memory loss can be extremely stressful to the people suffering from it and those around them, due to its disorientation properties. If someone is suffering from memory loss after taking Lunesta then ensuring they are calm and composed is vital for their mental health. Furthermore, helping in monitoring dosages is vital, as the user may forget if the medicine has been taken and accidentally overdose.
Other kinds of neurosis and paranoia may also be present in those who abuse this drug in high dosages or long term. It is unclear if these side effects can be completely reversed or not, therefore medical advice should be immediately sought out at the first signs of these symptoms.
Weakened Immune System
Finally, as with most drugs, Lunesta weakens the immune system which can, in turn, expose you to an increased number of viruses and bacterial infections. This can increase the chance of low moods, making it all the more important to use it in moderation to minimize your chances of both physical and mental health issues.
Who Shouldn’t Use Lunesta?
Lunesta should not be the first drug to turn to if you cannot sleep, as there are plenty of herbal remedies and other options for this issue. However, if you do consider it then you should assess your health first, as Lunesta isn’t suitable for everyone. If any of the following statements are true for you, then you should avoid Lunesta use.
- You do not or cannot get more than 7 hours of sleep.
- You suffer from mental health issues such as severe depression, severe anxiety or schizophrenia.
- You regularly drink alcohol.
- You are on a variety of other medication (ask a doctor for specific medications you can mix together).
- You regularly take dietary supplements.
- You have kidney, lung or heart-related issues.
- You have brain or other organ related issues.
It is important to inform your doctor of everything you may be taking alongside Lunesta, to avoid provoking further health problems.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Lunesta
Lunesta can cause symptoms of withdrawal, especially when it has been taken for a long time or in high doses. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
Lunesta is all known for causing abnormal dreaming after prolonged use or even rebound insomnia. Sleep studies detected that after discontinuing use both sleep latency and efficiency worsened, as well as the quality of sleep. This meant that participants were regularly waking up during the night, often during REM sleep.
Be aware that Lunesta can lead to dependency as well as insomnia if the drug is not administered correctly.
In summary, the side effects of Lunesta vary from gastrointestinal and metabolic to psychiatric and immunologic.
Data collected from various clinical trials show that the side effects of Lunesta radiate into many parts of the body:
- Body as a whole (headaches, hernia)
- Cardiovascular system (hypertension)
- Digestive system (dry mouth, vomiting)
- Hemic and Lymphatic system (anemia)
- Musculoskeletal system (twitching, leg cramps)
- Nervous system (anxiety, dizziness, depression, confusion)
- Respiratory system (infection, hiccups)
- Skin and appendages (rash, acne)
- Special senses (metallic taste, dry eyes)
- Urogenital system (with some differences in females and males)
Some of the more severe side effects, such as liver, kidney or lung damage, may not wear off when Lunesta leaves the system. In this case, patients should seek medical help.
Do not take Lunesta if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, and make sure to devote 7-8 hours to sleep after taking it.
The above is not a complete list of all the possible side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It should be noted that the effectiveness of the drug, as well as the side effects, will vary from person to person.