Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Ambien (zolpidem) are both central nervous agents used for the treatment of insomnia. Lunesta was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2004 and is manufactured by Sepracor Inc. Ambien was FDA approved in December 1992 and is produced by Sanofi-aventis.
The prescribing information for both Lunesta and Ambien advises patients devote at least seven to eight hours of "inactivity" before they take their doses. They also advise no one drive or operate heavy machinery since their main desired effect is sedation.
Both drugs have warnings for possible dependency. They are designed for short-term use (7 to 10 days) but may be used longer under physician direction and supervision.
Lunesta Side Effects
According the patient leaflet for Lunesta, possible serious side effects may be abnormal thoughts and behavior, aggressive behavior, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions, memory loss and anxiety.
The most common side effects of Lunesta are unpleasant taste in mouth, dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, symptoms of the common cold (lunesta.com). This is not a complete list of side effects. Patients are encouraged to contact their physicians if they have questions.
Ambien Side Effects
Serious side effects reported are similar to those of Lunesta and have included abnormal thoughts and behavior, aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, memory loss and anxiety (ambiencr.com).
The most common side effects include headache, sleepiness and dizziness. There may be more side effects than those listed.
Do not drink alcohol or take any other medication that can cause drowsiness. Stop taking if you still cannot fall asleep and consult your doctor.
According to the makers of Ambien, when patients stop taking a sleep medicine, they may experience the following symptoms for a few days: trouble sleeping, nausea, flushing, lightheadedness, uncontrolled crying, vomiting, stomach cramps, panic attack, nervousness and stomach area pain.
Taking Lunesta or Ambien can cause tiredness and fatigue the next day. Patients are advised not to drive or operate machinery, or make any important decisions until they are fully awake.