Lunesta - General Information
Lunesta, marketed by Sepracor under the brand-name Lunesta, is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic agent (viz., a sedative) used as a treatment for insomnia. Lunesta is the active stereoisomer of zopiclone, and belongs to the class of drugs known as cyclopyrrones.
Its main selling point is that it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for long-term use, unlike almost all other hypnotic sedatives, which are approved only for the relief of short-term (6-8 weeks) insomnia.
Pharmacology of Lunesta
Lunesta is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic, pyrrolopyrazine derivative of the cyclopyrrolone class and is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia. While Lunesta is a hypnotic agent with a chemical structure unrelated to benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other drugs with known hypnotic properties, it interacts with the gamma-aminobutyric acid-benzodiazepine (GABABZ) receptor complex. Subunit modulation of the GABABZ receptor chloride channel macromolecular complex is hypothesized to be responsible for some of the pharmacological properties of benzodiazepines, which include sedative, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsive effects in animal models. Lunesta binds selectively to the brain alpha subunit of the GABA A omega-1 receptor.
Lunesta for patients
INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS TAKING LUNESTA
Your doctor has prescribed LUNESTA to help you sleep. The following information is intended to guide you in the safe use of this medicine. It is not meant to take the place of your doctor's instructions. If you have any questions about LUNESTA tablets, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist.
LUNESTA is used to treat different types of sleep problems, such as difficulty in falling asleep, difficulty in maintaining sleep during the night, and waking up too early in the morning. Most people with insomnia have more than one of these problems. You should take LUNESTA immediately before going to bed because of the risk of falling.
LUNESTA belongs to a group of medicines known as "hypnotics" or, simply, sleep medicines. There are many different sleep medicines available to help people sleep better. Insomnia is often transient and intermittent. It usually requires treatment for only a short time, usually 7 to 10 days up to 2 weeks. Some people have chronic sleep problems that may require more prolonged use of sleep medicine. However, you should not use these medicines for long periods without talking with your doctor about the risks and benefits of prolonged use.
All medicines have side effects. The most common side effects of sleep medicines are:
· Difficulty with coordination
Sleep medicines can make you sleepy during the day. How drowsy you feel depends upon how your body reacts to the medicine, which sleep medicine you are taking, and how large a dose your doctor has prescribed. Daytime drowsiness is best avoided by taking the lowest dose possible that will still help you sleep at night. Your doctor will work with you to find the dose of LUNESTA that is best for you. Some patients taking LUNESTA have reported next-day sleepiness.
To manage these side effects while you are taking this medicine:
· When you first start taking LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine, until you know whether the medicine will still have some effect on you the next day, use extreme care while doing anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving a car, operating machinery, or piloting an aircraft.
· Do not drink alcohol when you are taking LUNESTA or any sleep medicine. Alcohol can increase the side effects of LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine.
· Do not take any other medicines without asking your doctor first. This includes medicines you can buy without a prescription. Some medicines can cause drowsiness and are best avoided while taking LUNESTA.
· Always take the exact dose of LUNESTA prescribed by your doctor. Never change your dose without talking to your doctor first.
There are some special problems that may occur while taking sleep medicines.
Sleep medicines may cause a special type of memory loss or "amnesia." When this occurs, a person may not remember what has happened for several hours after taking the medicine. This is usually not a problem since most people fall asleep after taking the medicine. Memory loss can be a problem, however, when sleep medicines are taken while traveling, such as during an airplane flight and the person wakes up before the effect of the medicine is gone. This has been called "traveler's amnesia." Memory problems have been reported rarely by patients taking LUNESTA in clinical studies. In most cases, memory problems can be avoided if you take LUNESTA only when you are able to get a full night of sleep before you need to be active again. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you are having memory problems.
When sleep medicines are used every night for more than a few weeks, they may lose their effectiveness in helping you sleep. This is known as "tolerance." Development of tolerance to LUNESTA was not observed in a clinical study of 6 months' duration. Insomnia is often transient and intermittent, and prolonged use of sleep medicines is generally not necessary. Some people, though, have chronic sleep problems that may require more prolonged use of sleep medicine. If your sleep problems continue, consult your doctor, who will determine whether other measures are needed to overcome your sleep problems.
Sleep medicines can cause dependence in some people, especially when these medicines are used regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. Dependence is the need to continue taking a medicine because stopping it is unpleasant.
When people develop dependence, stopping the medicine suddenly may cause unpleasant symptoms. They may find they have to keep taking the medicine either at the prescribed dose or at increasing doses just to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
All people taking sleep medicines have some risk of becoming dependent on the medicine. However, people who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past may have a higher chance of becoming addicted to sleep medicines. This possibility must be considered before using these medicines for more than a few weeks. At the recommended dose, the abuse potential of LUNESTA was found to be equivalent to that of a sugar pill in former drug abusers. If you have been addicted to alcohol or drugs in the past, it is important to tell your doctor before starting LUNESTA or any sleep medicine.
Withdrawal symptoms may occur when sleep medicines are stopped suddenly after being used daily for a long time. In some cases, these symptoms can occur even if the medicine has been used for only a week or two. In mild cases, withdrawal symptoms may include unpleasant feelings. In more severe cases, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and, rarely, seizures may occur. These more severe withdrawal symptoms are very uncommon. Although withdrawal symptoms have not been observed in the relatively limited controlled trials experience with LUNESTA, there is, nevertheless, the risk of such events in association with the use of any sleep medicine.
Another problem that may occur when sleep medicines are stopped is known as "rebound insomnia." This means that a person may have more trouble sleeping the first few nights after the medicine is stopped than before starting the medicine. If you should experience rebound insomnia, do not get discouraged. This problem usually goes away on its own after 1 or 2 nights.
If you have been taking LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine for more than 1 or 2 weeks, do not stop taking it on your own. Always follow your doctor's directions.
Changes In Behavior And Thinking
Some people using sleep medicines have experienced unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior. These effects are not common. However, they have included:
· More outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal
· Strange behavior
· Worsening of depression
· Suicidal thoughts
How often these effects occur depends on several factors, such as a person's general health, the use of other medicines, and which sleep medicine is being used. Clinical experience with LUNESTA suggests that it is rarely associated with these behavior changes.
It is also important to realize that it is rarely clear whether these behavior changes are caused by the medicine, are caused by an illness, or have occurred on their own. In fact, sleep problems that do not improve may be due to illnesses that were present before the medicine was used. If you or your family notice any changes in your behavior, or if you have any unusual or disturbing thoughts, call your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Sleep medicines may cause sedation or other potential effects in the unborn baby when used during the last weeks of pregnancy. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while taking LUNESTA.
In addition, a very small amount of LUNESTA may be present in breast milk after use of the medication. The effects of very small amounts of LUNESTA on an infant are not known; therefore, as with all other prescription sleep medicines, it is recommended that you not take LUNESTA if you are breastfeeding a baby.
Safe Use Of Sleep Medicines
To ensure the safe and effective use of LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine, you should observe the following cautions:
1. LUNESTA is a prescription medicine and should be used ONLY as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions about how to take, when to take, and how long to take LUNESTA.
2. Never use LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine for longer than directed by your doctor.
3. If you notice any unusual and/or disturbing thoughts or behavior during treatment with LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine, contact your doctor.
4. Tell your doctor about any medicines you may be taking, including medicines you may buy without a prescription and herbal preparations. You should also tell your doctor if you drink alcohol. DO NOT use alcohol while taking LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine.
5. Do not take LUNESTA unless you are able to get 8 or more hours of sleep before you must be active again.
6. Do not increase the prescribed dose of LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine unless instructed by your doctor.
7. When you first start taking LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine, until you know whether the medicine will still have some effect on you the next day, use extreme care while doing anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving a car, operating machinery, or piloting an aircraft.
8. Be aware that you may have more sleeping problems the first night or two after stopping any sleep medicine.
9. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, if you are planning to become pregnant, if you become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding a baby while taking LUNESTA.
10. As with all prescription medicines, never share LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine with anyone else. Always store LUNESTA or any other sleep medicine in the original container and out of reach of children.
11. Be sure to tell your doctor if you suffer from depression.
12. LUNESTA works very quickly. You should only take LUNESTA immediately before going to bed.
13. For LUNESTA to work best, you should not take it with or immediately after a high-fat, heavy meal.
14. Some people, such as older adults (i.e., ages 65 and over) and people with liver disease, should start with the lower dose (1 mg) of LUNESTA. Your doctor may choose to start therapy at 2 mg. In general, adults under age 65 should be treated with 2 or 3 mg.
15. Each tablet is a single dose; do not crush or break the tablet.
An additive effect on psychomotor performance was seen with coadministration of eszopiclone and ethanol 0.70 g/kg for up to 4 hours after ethanol administration.
Coadministration of single doses of eszopiclone 3 mg and paroxetine 20 mg daily for 7 days produced no pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interaction.
Coadministration of single doses of eszopiclone 3 mg and lorazepam 2 mg did not have clinically relevant effects on the pharmacodynamics or pharmacokinetics of either drug.
Coadministration of eszopiclone 3 mg and olanzapine 10 mg produced a decrease in DSST scores. The interaction was pharmacodynamic; there was no alteration in the pharmacokinetics of either drug.
Drugs That Inhibit CYP3A4 (Ketoconazole)
CYP3A4 is a major metabolic pathway for elimination of eszopiclone. The AUC of eszopiclone was increased 2.2-fold by coadministration of ketoconazole, a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, 400 mg daily for 5 days. Cmax and t1/2 were increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold, respectively. Other strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 (e.g., itraconazole, clarithromycin, nefazodone, troleandomycin, ritonavir, nelfinavir) would be expected to behave similarly.
Drugs That Induce CYP3A4 (Rifampicin)
Racemic zopiclone exposure was decreased 80% by concomitant useof rifampicin, a potent inducer of CYP3A4. A similar effect would be expected with eszopiclone.
Drugs Highly Bound To Plasma Protein
Eszopiclone is not highly bound to plasma proteins (52-59% bound); therefore, the disposition of eszopiclone is not expected to be sensitive to alterations in protein binding. Administration of eszopiclone 3 mg to a patient taking another drug that is highly protein-bound would not be expected to cause an alteration in the free concentration of either drug.
Drugs With A Narrow Therapeutic Index
A single dose of eszopiclone 3 mg did not affect the pharmacokinetics of digoxin measured at steady state following dosing of 0.5 mg twice daily for one day and 0.25 mg daily for the next 6 days.
Eszopiclone 3 mg administered daily for 5 days did not affect the pharmacokinetics of (R)- or (S)-warfarin, nor were there any changes in the pharmacodynamic profile (prothrombin time) following a single 25 mg oral dose of warfarin.
Additional information about Lunesta
Lunesta Indication: For the treatment of insomnia
Mechanism Of Action: The mechanism of action of Lunesta is not completely understood. It is
thought that Lunesta acts on the benzodiazepine receptors and interacts with GABA-receptor complexes.
Drug Interactions: Not Available
Food Interactions: Not Available
Generic Name: Eszopiclone
Drug Category: Hypnotics and Sedatives
Drug Type: Small Molecule; Approved
Absorption: Rapidly absorbed following oral administration
Toxicity (Overdose): Side effects include viral infection, dry mouth, dizziness, hallucinations, infection, rash, and unpleasant taste, with this relationship clearest for unpleasant taste depending on doses.
Protein Binding: 52-59%
Biotransformation: Following oral administration, eszopiclone is extensively metabolized by oxidation and demethylation.
Half Life: 6 hours
Dosage Forms of Lunesta: Tablet, film coated Oral
Chemical IUPAC Name: [(7S)-6-(5-chloropyridin-2-yl)-5-oxo-7H-pyrrolo[3,4-b]pyrazin-7-yl] 4-methylpiperazine-1-carboxylate
Chemical Formula: C17H17ClN6O3
Eszopiclone on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eszopiclone
Organisms Affected: Humans and other mammals