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Lunesta (Eszopiclone) Addiction | Abuse Potential, Side Effects, Withdrawal, & Treatment Options

Published on November 17, 2020
blue pill Lunesta sleeping pill

Many health care providers use Lunesta for the treatment of insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes falling and staying asleep difficult. 

While Lunesta can work well, it can also lead to addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with this prescription sleep aid, it’s important to seek help at a drug abuse treatment center. 

What Is Lunesta?

Lunesta is the brand name for a medication known as eszopiclone. It’s classified as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

CNS depressants can promote a calm, sleepy feeling by slowing down brain activity. 

They’re categorized into groups such as barbiturates (which include Luminal and Nembutal), benzodiazepines (which include Xanax and Valium), and non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics.

Lunesta is a non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic. This means that while the drug produces effects that are similar to those of benzodiazepines, it’s a chemically different medication. 

As with other non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics, which include Ambien and Sonata, Lunesta can quickly make you feel relaxed and ready for sleep. 

Lunesta Abuse & Addiction

Lunesta can have euphoric effects; in other words, it can produce a “high,” especially at high doses. 

You’re abusing Lunesta if you take it in a manner not prescribed by your doctor, which may include:

  • taking higher doses 
  • taking it more frequently
  • taking it for a longer period 
  • taking it without a prescription 
  • crushing the pills and snorting them
  • mixing it with other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids

Long-term use of Lunesta, even as prescribed by a doctor, may also cause addiction. That’s why many doctors prescribe it only for short-term use. 

Side Effects Of Lunesta Abuse & Addiction

If you abuse or are addicted to Lunesta, you’ll likely experience the drug’s common side effects, which can include:

  • strange dreams
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • headache 
  • dry mouth
  • unpleasant taste
  • lowered sex drive
  • painful menstruation

You’ll also face a higher risk of experiencing the drug’s more serious side effects, which include: 

  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • swollen face, eyes, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles, or legs
  • rash and/or itching
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • feeling of tightness in the throat
  • lowered blood pressure
  • difficulty concentrating
  • confusion
  • aggression
  • hallucinations
  • sleepwalking
  • depression or other mood changes
  • suicidal thoughts
  • memory loss

If you or someone you love experiences these serious side effects, contact a health care provider as soon as possible.

Signs Of Lunesta Addiction

People with Lunesta addiction may:

  • experience cravings for the drug
  • feel unable to stop using the drug despite wanting to
  • withdraw from family and friends in favor of substance use
  • avoid responsibilities at work or school
  • develop a tolerance, which means they’ll need increasingly higher doses of the drug over time to experience the desired effects
  • develop a physical dependency, which means they’ll need the drug to function normally

Lunesta Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’re physically dependent on Lunesta and you suddenly stop taking it, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • intense cravings for Lunesta
  • increased blood pressure and/or heart rate
  • stomach and muscle cramps
  • shakiness

To avoid or decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms, don’t stop taking Lunesta cold turkey. Instead, talk to a doctor about gradually reducing your dosage.  

Can You Overdose On Lunesta?

Yes, it’s possible to overdose on Lunesta, especially if you abuse or are addicted to it. 

Signs of Lunesta overdose include:

  • severe headaches
  • extreme drowsiness
  • trouble breathing
  • coma (loss of consciousness) 

A Lunesta overdose can be fatal, particularly if you mix the medication with alcohol or other CNS depressants. 

If you or someone you know experiences the above symptoms, call 911 or the Poison Help line (1‐800‐222‐1222) right away. 

In most cases, the person who overdosed will be taken to an emergency room, where treatment providers can remove the substance from the person’s system and monitor their vital signs. 

Lunesta Addiction Treatment Options

If you want to recover from a Lunesta addiction, you may first need to enter a medical detox program.

During detox, a team of medical professionals will gradually lower your dosage of Lunesta until the drug is completely out of your system. 

The team will closely monitor your physical and mental health and may prescribe medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.

Once you finish detox, you can start attending an addiction treatment program. Available on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on your needs, these programs offer a variety of recovery services. 

These services may include:

  • behavioral therapy, in which a mental health counselor will help you identify triggers for drug use and change unhealthy behaviors
  • family therapy, in which you and your family members will learn how to best navigate and maintain your recovery
  • group therapy, in which you can share your experiences with other people who are recovering from addictions to sleeping pills or other forms of substance abuse
  • psychiatric care, in which you may be prescribed medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to treat underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to your drug use

To learn more about treatment options for Lunesta abuse and addiction, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

DailyMed - ESZOPICLONE tablet, film coated
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription CNS Depressants DrugFacts
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Depressants - Drug Fact Sheet
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - LUNESTA® (Eszopiclone)
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Eszopiclone

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