What Are the Effects of Using Lunesta?
Lunesta is a sedative-hypnotic prescription drug which alleviates insomnia. It is the brand-name for eszopiclone, a Schedule IV controlled substance. Patients usually take Lunesta once every day, directly before bed. Lunesta is intended to be a short-term medication, so a typical Lunesta prescription will last for only several weeks. However, clinical trials have shown that Lunesta may be effective for treating insomnia for an extended period of at least six months. If people misuse Lunesta, the effects of the drug can cause dependence and withdrawal. Since it is illegal to possess Lunesta without a prescription, some drug traffickers sell Lunesta pills to people who cannot acquire them from a pharmacy. In the parlance of the illegal drugs market, Lunesta pills are known as “sleepers,” “sleepeasies,” and “zombies.”
Lunesta is a “Z-drug,” a type of medication which mimics the effects of Benzodiazepines by functioning as a GABA receptor agonist. Ambien and Sonata also belong to this medication category. GABA is a neurotransmitter which inhibits impulses among neurons and sedates the nervous system. When Lunesta and other Z-drugs bind to GABA receptors in the brain, they cause the brain to release GABA. The effects of GABA help a person fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
The Side-Effects of Lunesta
In low doses, Lunesta is not likely to inflict any serious health consequences. However, anyone who uses Lunesta may experience some side-effects. The more common side-effects of Lunesta include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Side or lower-back pain
In rare cases, Lunesta can cause people to perform complex activities while asleep. For example, Lunesta patients have made phone calls, cooked meals, and even attempted to drive, all without ever waking up. Additionally, Lunesta might cause more serious side-effects for some patients. Possible severe side-effects of Lunesta include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Impaired coordination
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Painful/frequent/difficult urination
- Persistent tiredness
Some Lunesta users may also suffer an allergic reaction to the medication. An allergic reaction to any prescription drug is a medical emergency. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to Lunesta are swelling in the face, tongue, and throat, difficulty breathing, hives, and vomiting.
The Symptoms of a Lunesta Overdose
It is possible to overdose on Lunesta. The risk of overdose is greatest for those who exceed the limits of their prescriptions or who abuse Lunesta for fun or to avoid withdrawal. There is no documented case of an overdose on Lunesta by itself causing a person to die. However, when a person takes Lunesta with alcohol or another medication which affects the central nervous system, research indicates that the combined effects of the substances can cause a fatal overdose.
Since an overdose on any drug is highly serious, anyone who has a Lunesta prescription should know the symptoms of an overdose. The symptoms of a Lunesta overdose are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Intense tiredness
- Losing consciousness
- Falling into a coma
Lunesta Addiction and Withdrawal
Clinical studies have shown that the risks of Lunesta addiction are low. A person could possibly experience euphoria, amnesia, and hallucinogens from taking excessively high doses of Lunesta. For this reason, it is possible to abuse Lunesta as a recreational drug. These effects are similar to those of Ambien and other sedative medications at high doses. People who use Lunesta to “get high” may eventually become tolerant to the effects of Lunesta, which might prompt them to use even more of the medication and risk overdose. Once someone starts to crave Lunesta and uses it regularly as a recreational drug, it is likely that they have developed a Lunesta addiction.
Furthermore, a person with a Lunesta prescription could misuse the medication by taking too much of it too quickly, or by mixing it with other drugs. This greatly increases the likelihood of tolerance. Lunesta is only a short-term solution for insomnia. If someone becomes dependent on Lunesta to the extent that they cannot sleep without it and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it, they may have a Lunesta use disorder. Studies have not proven that Lunesta withdrawal involves any life-threatening symptoms. However, researchers have documented withdrawal symptoms which are distressing enough to compel a person with Lunesta addiction to relapse.
Aside from rebound insomnia, some possible symptoms of Lunesta withdrawal include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Strange dreams
Withdrawal symptoms are evidence of an addiction. People who already have a history of abusing Benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other drugs are at greater risk for developing an addiction to Lunesta. With professional support at a rehab center, anyone can overcome a Lunesta habit with detox and therapy over the course of several weeks.
Get Help Today with Lunesta Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with dependence on Lunesta, please contact a dedicated treatment specialist today to learn more about where to go for help and how to get started with treatment. Anyone can overcome a Lunesta habit and get through the symptoms of withdrawal with professional support at a rehab facility.
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