The FDA ( Food and Drug Administration ) is warning that the insomnia drug Lunesta ( Eszopiclone ) can cause next-day impairment of driving and other activities that require alertness.
As a result, FDA has decreased the recommended starting dose of Lunesta to 1 mg at bedtime. Health care professionals should follow the new dosing recommendations when starting patients on Lunesta.
Patients should continue taking their prescribed dose of Lunesta and contact their health care professionals to ask about the most appropriate dose for them.
A study of Lunesta found that the previously recommended dose of 3 mg can cause impairment to driving skills, memory, and coordination that can last more than 11 hours after receiving an evening dose.
Despite these driving and other problems, patients were often unaware they were impaired.
The new lower recommended starting dose of 1 mg at bedtime will result in less drug in the blood the next day.
Women and men are equally susceptible to impairment from Lunesta, so the recommended starting dose of 1 mg is the same for both. The 1 mg dose can be increased to 2 mg or 3 mg if needed, but the higher doses are more likely to result in next-day impairment of driving and other activities that require full alertness.
The Agency also wants physicians to caution patients taking a 3 mg dose against driving or engaging in other activities that require complete mental alertness the day after use.
FDA has approved changes to the Lunesta prescribing information and the patient Medication Guide to include these new recommendations.
The drug labels for generic Eszopiclone products will also be updated to include these changes. ( Xagena )
Source: FDA, 2014