"Sleep disorder drugs (hypnotic and sedative drugs) overview
Insomnia, a disorder in which there is difficulty sleeping, occurs occasionally in most people but usually lasts only a few days. The body then "corrects" itself "...
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Need to Evaluate for Co-Morbid Diagnoses
Because sleep disturbances may be the presenting manifestation of a physical and/or psychiatric disorder, symptomatic treatment of insomnia should be initiated only after a careful evaluation of the patient. The failure of insomnia to remit after 7 to 10 days of treatment may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. Worsening of insomnia or the emergence of new thinking or behavior abnormalities may be the consequence of an unrecognized psychiatric or physical disorder. Such findings have emerged during the course of treatment with sedative/hypnotic drugs, including LUNESTA. Because some of the important adverse effects of LUNESTA appear to be dose-related, it is important to use the lowest possible effective dose, especially in the elderly [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Severe Anaphylactic and Anaphylactoid Reactions
Rare cases of angioedema involving the tongue, glottis or larynx have been reported in patients after taking the first or subsequent doses of sedative-hypnotics, including LUNESTA. Some patients have had additional symptoms such as dyspnea, throat closing, or nausea and vomiting that suggest anaphylaxis. Some patients have required medical therapy in the emergency department. If angioedema involves the tongue, glottis or larynx, airway obstruction may occur and be fatal. Patients who develop angioedema after treatment with LUNESTA should not be rechallenged with the drug.
Abnormal Thinking and Behavioral Changes
A variety of abnormal thinking and behavior changes have been reported to occur in association with the use of sedative/hypnotics. Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition (e.g., aggressiveness and extroversion that seem out of character), similar to effects produced by alcohol and other CNS depressants. Other reported behavioral changes have included bizarre behavior, agitation, hallucinations, and depersonalization. Amnesia and other neuropsychiatric symptoms may occur unpredictably. In primarily depressed patients, worsening of depression, including suicidal thoughts and actions (including completed suicides), has been reported in association with the use of sedative/hypnotics.
Complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-na´ve as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons. Although behaviors such as sleep-driving may occur with LUNESTA alone at therapeutic doses, the use of alcohol and other CNS depressants with LUNESTA appears to increase the risk of such behaviors, as does the use of LUNESTA at doses exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Due to the risk to the patient and the community, discontinuation of LUNESTA should be strongly considered for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode. Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
It can rarely be determined with certainty whether a particular instance of the abnormal behaviors listed above are drug-induced, spontaneous in origin, or a result of an underlying psychiatric or physical disorder. Nonetheless, the emergence of any new behavioral sign or symptom of concern requires careful and immediate evaluation.
Following rapid dose decrease or abrupt discontinuation of the use of sedative/hypnotics, there have been reports of signs and symptoms similar to those associated with withdrawal from other CNS-depressant drugs [see Drug Abuse and Dependence].
CNS Depressant Effects
LUNESTA, like other hypnotics, has CNS-depressant effects. Because of the rapid onset of action, LUNESTA should only be ingested immediately prior to going to bed or after the patient has gone to bed and has experienced difficulty falling asleep. Patients receiving LUNESTA should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination (e.g., operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle) after ingesting the drug, and be cautioned about potential impairment of the performance of such activities on the day following ingestion of LUNESTA. LUNESTA, like other hypnotics, may produce additive CNS-depressant effects when coadministered with other psychotropic medications, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, ethanol, and other drugs that themselves produce CNS depression. LUNESTA should not be taken together with alcohol. Dose adjustment may be necessary when LUNESTA is administered with other CNS-depressant agents, because of the potentially additive effects.
Timing of Drug Administration
LUNESTA should be taken immediately before bedtime. Taking a sedative/hypnotic while still up and about may result in short-term memory impairment, hallucinations, impaired coordination, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Use in Elderly and/or Debilitated Patients
Impaired motor and/or cognitive performance after repeated exposure or unusual sensitivity to sedative/hypnotic drugs is a concern in the treatment of elderly and/or debilitated patients. The recommended starting dose of LUNESTA for these patients is 1 mg [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness
Clinical experience with eszopiclone in patients with concomitant illness is limited. Eszopiclone should be used with caution in patients with diseases or conditions that could affect metabolism or hemodynamic responses.
A study in healthy volunteers did not reveal respiratory-depressant effects at doses 2.5-fold higher (7 mg) than the recommended dose of eszopiclone. Caution is advised, however, if LUNESTA is prescribed to patients with compromised respiratory function.
The dose of LUNESTA should be reduced to 1 mg in patients with severe hepatic impairment, because systemic exposure is doubled in such subjects. No dose adjustment appears necessary for subjects with mild or moderate hepatic impairment. No dose adjustment appears necessary in subjects with any degree of renal impairment, since less than 10% of eszopiclone is excreted unchanged in the urine.
The dose of LUNESTA should be reduced in patients who are administered potent inhibitors of CYP3A4, such as ketoconazole, while taking LUNESTA. Downward dose adjustment is also recommended when LUNESTA is administered with agents having known CNS-depressant effects.
Use in Patients with Depression
Sedative/hypnotic drugs should be administered with caution to patients exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression. Suicidal tendencies may be present in such patients, and protective measures may be required. Intentional overdose is more common in this group of patients; therefore, the least amount of drug that is feasible should be prescribed for the patient at any one time.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Patients should be instructed to read the accompanying Medication Guide with each new prescription and refill. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document. Patients should be given the following information:
Severe anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions
Inform patients that severe anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions have occurred with Lunesta. Describe the signs/symptoms of these reactions and advise patients to seek medical attention immediately if any of them occur.
“Sleep-Driving” and other complex behaviors
There have been reports of people getting out of bed after taking a sedative-hypnotic and driving their cars while not fully awake, often with no memory of the event. If a patient experiences such an episode, it should be reported to his or her doctor immediately, since “sleep-driving” can be dangerous. This behavior is more likely to occur when LUNESTA is taken with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Other complex behaviors (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
- Patients should be instructed to take LUNESTA immediately prior to going to bed, and only if they can dedicate 8 hours to sleep.
- Patients should be instructed not to take LUNESTA with alcohol or with other sedating medications.
- Patients should be advised to consult with their physician if they have a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts, have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or have liver disease.
- Women should be advised to contact their physician if they become pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if they are nursing.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
In a carcinogenicity study in rats, oral administration of eszopiclone for 97 (males) or 104 (females) weeks resulted in no increases in tumors; plasma levels (AUC) of eszopiclone at the highest dose tested (16 mg/kg/day) are approximately 80 (females) and 20 (males) times those in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 3 mg/day. However, in a 2year carcinogenicity study in rats, oral administration of racemic zopiclone (1, 10, or 100 mg/kg/day) resulted in increases in mammary gland adenocarcinomas (females) and thyroid gland follicular cell adenomas and carcinomas (males) at the highest dose tested. Plasma levels of eszopiclone at this dose are approximately 150 (females) and 70 (males) times those in humans at the MRHD of eszopiclone. The mechanism for the increase in mammary adenocarcinomas is unknown. The increase in thyroid tumors is thought to be due to increased levels of TSH secondary to increased metabolism of circulating thyroid hormones, a mechanism not considered relevant to humans.
In a 2-year carcinogenicity study in mice, oral administration of racemic zopiclone (1, 10, or 100 mg/kg/day) produced increases in pulmonary carcinomas and carcinomas plus adenomas (females) and skin fibromas and sarcomas (males) at the highest dose tested. The skin tumors were due to skin lesions induced by aggressive behavior, a mechanism not relevant to humans. A carcinogenicity study of eszopiclone was conducted in mice at oral doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. Although this study did not reach a maximum tolerated dose, and was thus inadequate for overall assessment of carcinogenic potential, no increases in either pulmonary or skin tumors were seen at doses producing plasma levels of eszopiclone approximately 90 times those in humans at the MRHD of eszopiclone (and 12 times the exposure in the racemate study).
Eszopiclone did not increase tumors in a p53 transgenic mouse bioassay at oral doses up to 300 mg/kg/day.
Eszopiclone was clastogenic in in vitro (mouse lymphoma and chromosomal aberration) assays in mammalian cells. Eszopiclone was negative in the in vitro bacterial gene mutation (Ames) assay and in an in vivo micronucleus assay.
(S)-N-desmethyl zopiclone, a metabolite of eszopiclone, was positive in in vitro chromosomal aberration assays in mammalian cells. (S)-N-desmethyl zopiclone was negative in the in vitro bacterial gene mutation (Ames) assay and in an in vivo chromosomal aberration and micronucleus assay.
Impairment of Fertility
Oral administration of eszopiclone to rats prior to and during mating, and continuing in females to day 7 of gestation (doses up to 45 mg/kg/day to males and females or up to 180 mg/kg/day to females only) resulted in decreased fertility, with no pregnancy at the highest dose tested when both males and females were treated. In females, there was an increase in abnormal estrus cycles at the highest dose tested. In males, decreases in sperm number and motility and increases in morphologically abnormal sperm were observed at the mid and high doses. The no-effect dose for adverse effects on fertility (5 mg/kg/day) is 16 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. LUNESTA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oral administration of eszopiclone to pregnant rats (62.5, 125, or 250 mg/kg/day) and rabbits (4, 8, or 16 mg/kg/day) throughout organogenesis showed no evidence of teratogenicity up to the highest doses tested. In rats, reduced fetal weight and increased incidences of skeletal variations and/or delayed ossification were observed at the mid and high doses. The no-observed-effect dose for adverse effects on embryofetal development is 200 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 3 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis. No effects on embryofetal development were observed in rabbits; the highest dose tested is approximately 100 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis.
Oral administration of eszopiclone (60, 120, or 180 mg/kg/day) to pregnant rats throughout the pregnancy and lactation resulted in increased post-implantation loss, decreased postnatal pup weights and survival, and increased pup startle response at all doses. The lowest dose tested is approximately 200 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis. Eszopiclone had no effects on other developmental measures or reproductive function in the offspring.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk.
Safety and effectiveness of Lunesta have not been established in pediatric patients. Lunesta failed to demonstrate efficacy in controlled clinical studies of pediatric patients with AttentionDeficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD) associated insomnia.
In a 12-week controlled study, 483 pediatric patients (aged 6-17 years) with insomnia associated with ADHD (with 65% of the patients using concomitant ADHD treatments) were treated with oral tablets of Lunesta (1 or 2 or 3 mg tablets, n=323), or placebo (n=160). Lunesta did not significantly decrease latency to persistent sleep, compared to placebo, as measured by polysomnography after 12 weeks of treatment. Psychiatric and nervous system disorders comprised the most frequent treatment emergent adverse reactions observed with Lunesta versus placebo and included dysgeusia (9% vs. 1%), dizziness (6% vs. 2%), hallucinations (2% vs. 0%)and suicidal ideation (0.3% vs. 0%). Nine patients on Lunesta (3%) discontinued treatment due to an adverse reaction compared to 3 patients on placebo (2%).
In studies in which eszopiclone (2 to 300 mg/kg/day) was orally administered to young rats from weaning through sexual maturity, neurobehavioral impairment (altered auditory startle response) and reproductive toxicity (adverse effects on male reproductive organ weights and histopathology) were observed at doses ≥ 5 mg/kg/day. Delayed sexual maturation was noted in males and females at ≥ 10 mg/kg/day. The no-effect dose (2 mg/kg) was associated with plasma exposures (AUC) for eszopiclone and metabolite (S)-desmethylzopiclone [(S)-DMZ] approximately 2 times plasma exposures in humans at the maximum recommended dose (MRHD) in adults (3 mg/day).
When eszopiclone (doses from 1 to 50 mg/kg/day) was orally administered to young dogs from weaning through sexual maturity, neurotoxicity (convulsions) was observed at doses ≥ 5 mg/kg/day. Hepatotoxicity (elevated liver enzymes and hepatocellular vacuolation and degeneration) and reproductive toxicity (adverse effects on male reproductive organ weights and histopathology) were noted at dose ≥ 10 mg/kg/day. The no-effect dose (1 mg/kg) was associated with plasma exposures (AUC) to eszopiclone and (S)-DMZ approximately 3 and 2 times, respectively, plasma exposures in humans at the MRHD in adults.
A total of 287 subjects in double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled clinical trials who received eszopiclone were 65 to 86 years of age. The overall pattern of adverse events for elderly subjects (median age = 71 years) in 2-week studies with nighttime dosing of 2 mg eszopiclone was not different from that seen in younger adults [see ADVERSE REACTIONS: Table 2 ]. LUNESTA 2 mg exhibited significant reduction in sleep latency and improvement in sleep maintenance in the elderly population. Compared with non-elderly adults, subjects 65 years and older had longer elimination and higher total exposure to eszopiclone. Therefore, dose reduction is recommended in the elderly patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
No dose adjustment is necessary for patients with mild-to-moderate hepatic impairment. Exposure was increased in severely impaired patients compared with the healthy volunteers. The starting dose of LUNESTA should be 1 mg in patients with severe hepatic impairment. LUNESTA should be used with caution in patients with hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/18/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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