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23-May-14 9:45 AM  CST  

Lunesta Dosages Reduced 

The FDA is notifying healthcare professionals and patients that Lunesta (eszopiclone) can cause next day impairment of driving and many other activities that require alertness. New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations are a decreased starting dose of 1 mg at bedtime.  The recommended starting dose of 1 mg is best for both men and for women. Pharmacy technicians should note that the FDA approved changes will be reflected in prescribing information and the patient medication guide. Pharmacy technicians should double check their prescribing information and patient mediation guides to make sure they reflect the new information. 

            Technicians should also note that drug labels will be the same for Lunesta’s generic counterparts as well. By starting with a lowered dose of 1 mg at bedtime, patients will have a lower concentration of the drug in their blood the next day. Recent studies have shown that the previously recommended dose of 3 mg may cause impairment to driving skills, memory, and coordination. Studies have also shown that patients did not know they were impaired by taking the higher dose of Lunesta. FDA recommendations suggest that patients should keep taking their recommended dose of Lunesta and consult with their physician about a lower dose suited to meet their healthcare needs.

            In conclusion, the FDA is working to evaluate other sleep mediations and will alert the public about changes to the dosages of additional sleep medications. Pharmacy technicians may go to to learn more specifics about the drug.




1. FDA Release. “Eszopiclone Containing Sleep Aids: Drug Safety Communication – Can Cause Next Day Impairment.”  Web. Date of Access: 19 May 2014.

2. Botelho, Greg. “FDA Halves Recommended Lunesta Dose, Warns Effects Can Persist Into Next Day.” Web. CNN Health. Date of Access: 19 May 2014.

3. Perrone, Matthew. “FDA Lowers Dose To Next-Day Drowsiness.” Web. Date of Access: 19 May 2014.

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Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly

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