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Lunesta

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism Of action

The precise mechanism of action of eszopiclone as a hypnotic is unknown, but its effect is believed to result from its interaction with GABA-receptor complexes at binding domains located close to or allosterically coupled to benzodiazepine receptors. Eszopiclone is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic that is a pyrrolopyrazine derivative of the cyclopyrrolone class with a chemical structure unrelated to pyrazolopyrimidines, imidazopyridines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other drugs with known hypnotic properties.

Pharmacokinetics

The pharmacokinetics of eszopiclone have been investigated in healthy subjects (adult and elderly) and in patients with hepatic disease or renal disease. In healthy subjects, the pharmacokinetic profile was examined after single doses of up to 7.5 mg and after once-daily administration of 1, 3, and 6 mg for 7 days. Eszopiclone is rapidly absorbed, with a time to peak concentration (tmax) of approximately 1 hour and a terminal-phase elimination half-life (t½) of approximately 6 hours. In healthy adults, LUNESTA does not accumulate with once-daily administration, and its exposure is dose-proportional over the range of 1 to 6 mg.

Absorption and Distribution

Eszopiclone is rapidly absorbed following oral administration. Peak plasma concentrations are achieved within approximately 1 hour after oral administration. Eszopiclone is weakly bound to plasma protein (52-59%). The large free fraction suggests that eszopiclone disposition should not be affected by drug-drug interactions caused by protein binding. The blood-to-plasma ratio for eszopiclone is less than one, indicating no selective uptake by red blood cells.

Metabolism

Following oral administration, eszopiclone is extensively metabolized by oxidation and demethylation. The primary plasma metabolites are (S)-zopiclone-N-oxide and (S)-N-desmethyl zopiclone; the latter compound binds to GABA receptors with substantially lower potency than eszopiclone, and the former compound shows no significant binding to this receptor. In vitro studies have shown that CYP3A4 and CYP2E1 enzymes are involved in the metabolism of eszopiclone. Eszopiclone did not show any inhibitory potential on CYP450 1A2, 2A6, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, and 3A4 in cryopreserved human hepatocytes.

Elimination

After oral administration, eszopiclone is eliminated with a mean t½ of approximately 6 hours. Up to 75% of an oral dose of racemic zopiclone is excreted in the urine, primarily as metabolites. A similar excretion profile would be expected for eszopiclone, the S-isomer of racemic zopiclone. Less than 10% of the orally administered eszopiclone dose is excreted in the urine as parent drug.

Effect of Food

In healthy adults, administration of a 3 mg dose of eszopiclone after a high-fat meal resulted in no change in AUC, a reduction in mean Cmax of 21%, and delayed tmax by approximately 1 hour.

The half-life remained unchanged, approximately 6 hours. The effects of LUNESTA on sleep onset may be reduced if it is taken with or immediately after a high-fat/heavy meal.

Specific Populations

Age

Compared with non-elderly adults, subjects 65 years and older had an increase of 41% in total exposure (AUC) and a slightly prolonged elimination of eszopiclone (t½ approximately 9 hours). Cmax was unchanged. Therefore, in elderly patients the dose should not exceed 2 mg.

Gender

The pharmacokinetics of eszopiclone in men and women are similar.

Race

In an analysis of data on all subjects participating in Phase 1 studies of eszopiclone, the pharmacokinetics for all races studied appeared similar.

Hepatic Impairment

Pharmacokinetics of a 2 mg eszopiclone dose were assessed in 16 healthy volunteers and in 8 subjects with mild, moderate, and severe liver disease. Exposure was increased 2-fold in severely impaired patients compared with the healthy volunteers. Cmax and tmax were unchanged. No dose adjustment is necessary for patients with mild-to-moderate hepatic impairment. Dose reduction is recommended for patients with severe hepatic impairment. LUNESTA should be used with caution in patients with hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Renal Impairment

The pharmacokinetics of eszopiclone were studied in 24 patients with mild, moderate, or severe renal impairment. AUC and Cmax were similar in the patients compared with demographically matched healthy control subjects. No dose adjustment is necessary in patients with renal impairment, since less than 10% of the orally administered eszopiclone dose is excreted in the urine as parent drug.

Drug Interactions

Eszopiclone is metabolized by CYP3A4 and CYP2E1 via demethylation and oxidation. There were no pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions between eszopiclone and paroxetine. When eszopiclone was coadministered with olanzapine, no pharmacokinetic interaction was detected in levels of eszopiclone or olanzapine, but a pharmacodynamic interaction was seen on a measure of psychomotor function. Eszopiclone and lorazepam decreased each other's Cmax by 22%. Coadministration of eszopiclone 3 mg to subjects receiving ketoconazole, a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, 400 mg daily for 5 days, resulted in a 2.2-fold increase in exposure to eszopiclone. Cmax and t½ were increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold, respectively. LUNESTA would not be expected to alter the clearance of drugs metabolized by common CYP450 enzymes [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Paroxetine: Coadministration of single dose of eszopiclone and paroxetine produced no pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interaction. The lack of a drug interaction following single-dose administration does not predict the complete absence of a pharmacodynamic effect following chronic administration.

Lorazepam: Coadministration of single doses of eszopiclone and lorazepam did not have clinically relevant effects on the pharmacodynamics or pharmacokinetics of either drug. The lack of a drug interaction following single-dose administration does not predict the complete absence of a pharmacodynamic effect following chronic administration.

Drugs with a Narrow Therapeutic Index

Digoxin: A single dose of eszopiclone 3 mg did not affect the pharmacokinetics of digoxin measured at steady state following dosing of 0.5 mg twice daily for one day and 0.25 mg daily for the next 6 days.

Warfarin: Eszopiclone 3 mg administered daily for 5 days did not affect the pharmacokinetics of (R)-or (S)-warfarin, nor were there any changes in the pharmacodynamic profile (prothrombin time) following a single 25 mg oral dose of warfarin.

Drugs Highly Bound to Plasma Protein

Eszopiclone is not highly bound to plasma proteins (52-59% bound); therefore, the disposition of eszopiclone is not expected to be sensitive to alterations in protein binding. Administration of eszopiclone 3 mg to a patient taking another drug that is highly protein-bound would not be expected to cause an alteration in the free concentration of either drug.

Clinical Studies

The effect of LUNESTA on reducing sleep latency and improving sleep maintenance was established in studies with 2100 subjects (ages 18-86) with chronic and transient insomnia in six placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 months' duration. Two of these trials were in elderly patients (n=523). Overall, at the recommended adult dose (2-3 mg) and elderly dose (1-2 mg), LUNESTA significantly decreased sleep latency and improved measures of sleep maintenance (objectively measured as wake time after sleep onset [WASO] and subjectively measured as total sleep time).

Transient Insomnia

Healthy adults were evaluated in a model of transient insomnia (n=436) in a sleep laboratory in a double-blind, parallel-group, single-night trial comparing two doses of eszopiclone and placebo. LUNESTA 3 mg was superior to placebo on measures of sleep latency and sleep maintenance, including polysomnographic (PSG) parameters of latency to persistent sleep (LPS) and WASO.

Chronic Insomnia (Adults and Elderly)

The effectiveness of LUNESTA was established in five controlled studies in chronic insomnia. Three controlled studies were in adult subjects, and two controlled studies were in elderly subjects with chronic insomnia.

Adults

In the first study, adults with chronic insomnia (n=308) were evaluated in a double-blind, parallel-group trial of 6 weeks' duration comparing LUNESTA 2 mg and 3 mg with placebo. Objective endpoints were measured for 4 weeks. Both 2 mg and 3 mg were superior to placebo on LPS at 4 weeks. The 3 mg dose was superior to placebo on WASO.

In the second study, adults with chronic insomnia (n=788) were evaluated using subjective measures in a double-blind, parallel-group trial comparing the safety and efficacy of LUNESTA 3 mg with placebo administered nightly for 6 months. LUNESTA was superior to placebo on subjective measures of sleep latency, total sleep time, and WASO.

In addition, a 6-period cross-over PSG study evaluating eszopiclone doses of 1 to 3 mg, each given over a 2-day period, demonstrated effectiveness of all doses on LPS, and of 3 mg on WASO. In this trial, the response was dose-related.

Elderly

Elderly subjects (ages 65-86) with chronic insomnia were evaluated in two double-blind, parallel-group trials of 2 weeks duration. One study (n=231) compared the effects of LUNESTA with placebo on subjective outcome measures, and the other (n=292) on objective and subjective outcome measures. The first study compared 1 mg and 2 mg of LUNESTA with placebo, while the second study compared 2 mg of LUNESTA with placebo. All doses were superior to placebo on measures of sleep latency. In both studies, 2 mg of LUNESTA was superior to placebo on measures of sleep maintenance.

Studies Pertinent To Safety Concerns For Sedative Hypnotic Drugs

Next Day Residual Effects

In a double-blind study of 91 healthy adults age 25-to 40 years, the effects of LUNESTA 3 mg on psychomotor function were assessed between 7.5 and 11.5 hours the morning after dosing. Measures included tests of psychomotor coordination that are correlated with ability to maintain a motor vehicle in the driving lane, tests of working memory, and subjective perception of sedation and coordination. Compared with placebo, LUNESTA 3 mg was associated with next-morning psychomotor and memory impairment that was most severe at 7.5 hours, but still present and potentially clinically meaningful at 11.5 hours. Subjective perception of sedation and coordination from LUNESTA 3 mg was not consistently different from placebo, even though subjects were objectively impaired.

In a 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of nightly administered LUNESTA 3 mg, memory impairment was reported by 1.3% (8/593) of subjects treated with LUNESTA 3 mg compared to 0% (0/195) of subjects treated with placebo. In a 6-week adult study of nightly administered LUNESTA confusion was reported by 3.0% of patients treated with LUNESTA 3 mg, compared to 0% of subjects treated with placebo. In the same study, memory impairment was reported by 1% of patients treated with either 2 mg or 3 mg LUNESTA, compared to 0% treated with placebo.

In a 2-week study of 264 elderly insomniacs, 1.5% of patients treated with LUNESTA 2 mg reported memory impairment compared to 0% treated with placebo. In another 2-week study of 231 elderly insomniacs, 2.5% of patients treated with LUNESTA 2 mg reported confusion compared to 0% treated with placebo.

Withdrawal-Emergent Anxiety and Insomnia

During nightly use for an extended period, pharmacodynamic tolerance or adaptation has been observed with other hypnotics. If a drug has a short elimination half-life, it is possible that a relative deficiency of the drug or its active metabolites (i.e., in relationship to the receptor site) may occur at some point in the interval between each night's use. This is believed to be responsible for two clinical findings reported to occur after several weeks of nightly use of other rapidly eliminated hypnotics: increased wakefulness during the last quarter of the night and the appearance of increased signs of daytime anxiety.

In a 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled study of nightly administration of LUNESTA 3 mg, rates of anxiety reported as an adverse event were 2.1% in the placebo arm and 3.7% in the LUNESTA arm. In a 6-week adult study of nightly administration, anxiety was reported as an adverse event in 0%, 2.9%, and 1.0% of the placebo, 2 mg, and 3 mg treatment arms, respectively. In this study, single-blind placebo was administered on nights 45 and 46, the first and second days of withdrawal from study drug. New adverse events were recorded during the withdrawal period, beginning with day 45, up to 14 days after discontinuation. During this withdrawal period, 105 subjects previously taking nightly LUNESTA 3 mg for 44 nights spontaneously reported anxiety (1%), abnormal dreams (1.9%), hyperesthesia (1%), and neurosis (1%), while none of 99 subjects previously taking placebo reported any of these adverse events during the withdrawal period.

Rebound insomnia, defined as a dose-dependent temporary worsening in sleep parameters (latency, sleep efficiency, and number of awakenings) compared with baseline following discontinuation of treatment, is observed with short-and intermediate-acting hypnotics. Rebound insomnia following discontinuation of LUNESTA relative to placebo and baseline was examined objectively in a 6-week adult study on the first 2 nights of discontinuation (nights 45 and 46) following 44 nights of active treatment with 2 mg or 3 mg. In the LUNESTA 2 mg group, compared with baseline, there was a significant increase in WASO and a decrease in sleep efficiency, both occurring only on the first night after discontinuation of treatment. No changes from baseline were noted in the LUNESTA 3 mg group on the first night after discontinuation, and there was a significant improvement in LPS and sleep efficiency compared with baseline following the second night of discontinuation. Comparisons of changes from baseline between LUNESTA and placebo were also performed. On the first night after discontinuation of LUNESTA 2 mg, LPS and WASO were significantly increased and sleep efficiency was reduced; there were no significant differences on the second night. On the first night following discontinuation of LUNESTA 3 mg, sleep efficiency was significantly reduced. No other differences from placebo were noted in any other sleep parameter on either the first or second night following discontinuation. For both doses, the discontinuation-emergent effect was mild, had the characteristics of the return of the symptoms of chronic insomnia, and appeared to resolve by the second night after LUNESTA discontinuation.

Last reviewed on RxList: 5/29/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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