FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns of next-day impairment with sleep aid


If you take the prescription sleeping pill Lunesta (eszopiclone) or generics, you may need to take a lower dose according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A recent study found that the medicine may still be in the body in high enough amounts the morning after taking it to impair activities that require alertness, including driving.

For both men and women, the recommended starting dose has been decreased from 2 mg to 1 mg at bedtime. This dose can then be increased to 2 mg or 3 mg if needed. But, the higher doses can impair driving skills, memory, and coordination, and can last more than 11 hours after the drug is taken. Many people are unaware that they are impaired. FDA is looking at the entire class of sleep-aid medicines, including over-the-counter medicines.

 If this story sounds familiar to you, it should. Approximately one year ago, FDA released a similar warning about the sleep-aid Ambien (zolpidem). Thus, the starting dose of Ambien and generics was reduced from 10 mg to 5 mg for the immediate-release tablets and from 12.5 mg to 6.25 mg for the extended-release tables (e.g., Ambien CR).

Here's what you can do: If you currently take generic or brand name Lunesta (eszopiclone) 2 mg for sleep, contact your physician to ask for a new prescription for the lower dose (1 mg) as recommended by the FDA. Do not cut or split tablets without speaking to your pharmacist.

You can find this article at: www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM397277.pdf.

Created on May 24, 2014

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