Updated on February 6, 2024
5 min read

Lunesta Side Effects and Risks

Key Takeaways

What are the Side Effects of Lunesta?

Lunesta’s side effects can also have deteriorating effects on cognitive performance.

Potential adverse effects include: 

  • Rebound insomnia: increased difficulty sleeping compared to pretreatment
  • Anterograde amnesia: a condition that impairs memory after an amnesia-inducing event

It’s essential to seek medical advice before taking hypnotic drugs like Lunesta. Below are some commonly reported effects of eszopiclone:

Common Reaction

Short-term effects of Lunesta include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Runny nose
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Rash

Serious reactions

One long-term physical effect of using Eszopiclone is tolerance. When you develop a tolerance to a drug, you will have to take higher doses to feel the same effects.

Other side effects that may develop include:

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Nystagmus (uncontrollable eye movements)
  • Loss of coordination and fine motor control
  • Sensitivity to light and dry eyes
  • Joint inflammation
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dependency 

Serious Side Effects 

Lunesta misuse or addiction can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Amnesia (memory loss)
  • Problems with cognitive function
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Liver and kidney damage 

Call your doctor if you experience any side effects while using eszopiclone. They can offer medical advice or additional treatment options.

Are the Side Effects of Lunesta Reversible?

Whether Lunesta’s side effects are reversible or not depends on their severity. While treatments can often quickly reverse short-term side effects, they may not be effective on long-term ones.

Potentially reversible side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Runny nose
  • Headache 
  • Dry mouth
  • Amnesia
  • Loss of coordination
  • Kidney or liver damage.

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Dangers & Risks of Taking Lunesta

There were reports of people sleepwalking after taking Sonata, Ambien, and Lunesta. This lead to:1

  • Injuring themselves
  • Committing suicide
  • Drowning

Taking Lunesta, especially in high doses, can cause:

  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Abnormal thoughts or behavior
  • Risk of overdose
  • Unintended side effects such as intense tiredness, difficulty breathing, anxiety, coma, and memory loss

Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) upgraded the warning level for these prescription drugs. 

Can You Overdose on Lunesta?

Yes, you can overdose on Lunesta. Doctors usually prescribe 2 or 3 mg tablets. However, the FDA lowered its recommended starting dose to 1 mg.

They changed this because Lunesta caused severe physical and mental impairment that lasted up to 10 hours.3 Taking high doses of the drug may cause: 

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slowed or stopped breathing

Lunesta overdose can be fatal when mixed with alcohol or taken with other drugs that affect the central nervous system. A combination of such CNS stimulants can cause more severe or life-threatening symptoms.  

Get Professional Help

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Rehab Together

What is Lunesta (Eszopiclone)?

Lunesta is the brand name for eszopiclone, a prescription medication for insomnia. It helps induce sleep faster and keep you asleep longer.

Lunesta is a powerful sedative with a high potential for misuse.5 It affects the nervous system and alters brain chemicals like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Hypnotic agents like Lunesta will improve insomnia if taken in the proper doses as directed by your healthcare provider. 

It is unknown whether it is effective and safe for children.7 Some controlled sleep laboratory and outpatient studies have found that eszopiclone improves sleep quality and reduces sleep latency. 

Is Lunesta Addictive?

Lunesta is addictive, just like other common sedatives. It has a high tendency for misuse, primarily if used long-term. However, compared to benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, it has a lower risk for addiction.

Some people are at greater risk of developing psychological or physical addiction to Lunesta, including:

  • Older adults
  • Those taking higher doses of Lunesta than recommended
  • People with a history of mental health problems or substance misuse

What are the Symptoms of Lunesta Addiction?

Symptoms of Lunesta addiction include:

  • Constant craving for the drug
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Using the medicine to get ‘high’
  • Continuous intake, even after the prescription has expired
  • Mixing it with other medications to increase the sedative effects
  • Increasing drug dosage without the doctor’s knowledge
  • Constantly putting off quitting the drug

Phone, Video, or Live-Chat Support

BetterHelp provides therapy in a way that works for YOU. Fill out the questionnaire, get matched, begin therapy.

Get Started

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Lunesta Withdrawal Symptoms

Generally, withdrawal from hypnotics may heighten anxiety and worsen insomnia.8 Lunesta withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. 

The severity of symptoms depends on the dosage and duration of time the person took the drug. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme sleepiness

Withdrawal Timeline 

The first week of withdrawal is usually challenging as the patient will be experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms. Most are a re-emergence of the symptoms the drug treats (rebound symptoms).

Without a solid support system during this phase, the person may relapse and return to using the drug to relieve the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Most of the acute withdrawal symptoms often stop in the second week. However, the patient may still experience lingering symptoms like: 

  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Sleep disruptions 

Drugs to Avoid While Taking Lunesta

Lunesta has up to 51 major drug interactions, 278 moderate drug interactions, and two minor drug interactions.6 

Some of the drugs known to have severe interactions with Lunesta include:

  • Alfentanil
  • Buprenorphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Ketamine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Sufentanil
  • Tramadol

Some other common drugs you shouldn’t take with Lunesta include:

  • Butalbital
  • Cannabis
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Diazepam
  • Opium
  • Doxylamine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Heroin
  • Mifepristone
  • Thalidomide

Also, do not mix Lunesta with alcohol or take it within one hour of consuming a heavy meal.

Treatment Options for Lunesta Addiction

Physicians typically treat Lunesta addiction using a holistic approach. People with sleep disorders like insomnia often have unresolved family problems, trauma, or anxiety. 

A holistic treatment approach involves treating the underlying issues that made them addicted to sleeping pills.

Treatment options for Lunesta addiction include:

  • Inpatient rehab: Involves checking yourself into a rehab facility for 24-hour medical supervision 
  • Outpatient rehab: Similar to inpatient rehab, but you can leave the rehab facility while getting therapy and treatment
  • Sober living houses/programs: A term used to describe recovery homes that help people maintain sobriety
  • Aftercare programs: Offer continued support for rehab alums as they transition into a life of sobriety


Lunesta is the brand name for eszopiclone. It is a prescription drug used to treat insomnia.

Lunesta can help improve sleep quality. However, it is a powerful sedative with a high potential for misuse.

Misusing Lunesta can lead to short and long-term side effects. It can also cause a fatal overdose.

Get matched with an affordable mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Updated on February 6, 2024
9 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024

Related Pages