Lunesta is the commercial name of the non-benzodiazepine prescription sedative-hypnotic Eszopiclone, which is primarily used in the treatment of insomnia. Initially promoted as a safer alternative for benzodiazepine, which is known for being highly addictive, even if taken in prescribed doses.

Despite this, however, Lunesta has also widely become an abused substance mainly because of the mechanism of its action on the brain. When taken, it will produce a similar euphoric effect associated with taking benzodiazepine-class substances, on top of a potent relaxing, sedative effect. Due to its high potential as a habit-forming substance, Lunesta is only prescribed by doctors for short-term treatment of acute insomnia, which is typically no more than two to four weeks at a time.

To answer the question “is Lunesta addictive,” under the Controlled Substances Ace, Lunesta is a schedule IV controlled substance, which is the same class as benzodiazepines and barbiturates. All of the substances in this class are strictly regulated because of the high potential to be abused. The regulation is as much for the protection of people using it as it is also for the people who don’t use it but might be involved in dangerous incidents due to the person taking it.

What Are the Side Effects of Lunesta Addiction?

The most dangerous side effect of any sleep-inducing substance is death. Lunesta is known to cause many of the side effects also seen in people who chronically abuse benzodiazepines. Lunesta is particularly hazardous for people with existing liver impairment, which is why usage must only be on the advice of a physician after a health assessment.

Other known side effects from Lunesta usage include:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Impaired coordination
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Peripheral edema
  • Somnambulism
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Agitation
  • Chest pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Amnesia
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Aberrant thought patterns
  • Pain while urinating
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Back pains
  • Impaired memory
  • Constipation
  • Heightened nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Lasting cognitive impairment
  • Muscle twitches
  • Severe allergic reaction (for those with a tendency for such a reaction)
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Decrease in libido
  • Somnolence (strong desire to sleep)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat

The US Food and Drug Administration had also released a warning in 2014 stating that Lunesta had been proven to cause next-day impairment that adversely affects activities that require alertness, such as driving and operating machinery.

the danger of taking Lunesta with Alcohol

Is it Dangerous to Take Lunesta with Alcohol?

Lunesta exponentially increases all the dangerous side effects of any other depressant taken with it, such as alcohol. Taking or mixing depressants will have the effect of one potentiating the other, causing such effects as:

  • Heightened coordination impairment
  • Increased risk-taking
  • Increased memory impairment
  • The greater tendency for poor judgment
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Heightened risk of blackouts
  • Greater mood swings
  • Easily aggravated behavior
  • Greatly compromised self-preservation instincts
  • High chance of respiratory depression
  • Difficulty in maintaining balance
  • Sudden unconsciousness
  • Coma

Taking these two substances is also a sure way to develop a polydrug issue, as alcohol consumption is something anyone barely gives a thought about, and it is quite easy to develop a habit of using sleep aids, particularly for those who already have difficulty sleeping or suffer from chronic sleep interruption.

Taking both substances also doubles the harmful effects done by either substance on the body, particularly on the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys. Lunesta may also heighten the dangers of alcohol relevant to the development or aggravation of heart disease.

How Long Does Lunesta Withdrawal Take?

As with most reactions to substances, different people may experience different durations for the withdrawal period. With people experiencing withdrawal from Lunesta, the worse symptoms usually come within the first three to five days, depending on the severity of the abuse. The factors that come into consideration for this are:

  • Current physical health
  • Length of substance abuse
  • Potential effects of other substances taken with Lunesta
  • Other existing conditions
  • Amount taken (dosage)

The typical withdrawal timeline from Lunesta would be:

Days 1 - 2

Depending on the dosage, frequency, and duration of Lunesta use, symptoms could manifest between the first and second day from the last time it was taken. The more common early symptoms include insomnia and bouts of anxiety.

Days 3 - 7

Many experiences a “peak” in the withdrawal symptoms they experience between three to seven days. People who took larger doses of Lunesta tend to experience the worst and most intense symptoms during this period. Some withdrawal symptoms are so severe that medical care might be required. People typically experience restlessness, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue during this period.

Weeks 1 - 4

After three weeks, most people experience a dramatic decrease in withdrawal symptoms, although a few experience persistent symptoms for up to four weeks. Those who happen to practice heavy use of Lunesta before medical detox usually experiences a more extended period of withdrawal, sometimes lasting up to eight weeks or even more.

While the physical symptoms may have generally decreased by this time, many experiences what is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which is mostly made up of psychological symptoms such as mood swings, bouts of depression, mild to moderate anxiety, and cravings for Lunesta which tend to come and go.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Lunesta?

While Lunesta withdrawal symptoms, duration, and severity may vary depending on the person, as different people may experience it differently, many symptoms tend to manifest in anyone who takes Lunesta for any given amount of time, regardless if they followed the prescribed dosage or not.

These symptoms include:

  • Bouts of anxiety
  • Profuse sweating
  • Irritability
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares
  • Muscle twitches and spasms
  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Short-term memory impairment
  • Mood swings
  • Bouts of depression
  • Impaired consideration
  • Stomach cramps
  • Panic attacks
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Severe seizures
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Hypertension
  • Tachycardia
  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Flushed skin

Lunesta addiction treatment in New Jersey

There is Hope At Discovery Institute

Work and stress are factors that are sure to affect rest and recovery. This is particularly pronounced in women, which is why many often resort to sleeping medications, which later on develop into Lunesta addiction.

It doesn’t have to stay this way with you. We know how difficult it is, which is why we do our best to help people who need it the most. Come see us now and let your healing begin.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Joseph N. Ranieris D.O.

Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification.