Lunesta vs. Ambien
Lunesta vs. Ambien: Two Short-Term Treatments for Insomnia
Many factors can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep at times. Insomnia, on the other hand, is defined as difficulty falling asleep on a consistent basis. Lunesta vs. Ambien
If insomnia prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor. They may advise you to make changes to your sleeping habits or lifestyle.
If those don’t work and your insomnia isn’t caused by an underlying condition, there are medications that can help.
Lunesta and Ambien are two commonly prescribed short-term insomnia medications. Eszopiclone is marketed under the brand name Lunesta. Ambien is a brand name for the medication zolpidem.
Both of these medications fall into the category of sedative-hypnotics. These medications are prescribed to people over the age of 18 who are having difficulty sleeping.
Taking one of these drugs may be just what you need to get a good night’s sleep. Learn more about their similarities and differences, as well as how to talk to your doctor if you think one of these drugs may be a good option for you.
How they work
Ambien and Lunesta reduce brain activity and produce a calming effect. This can assist you in falling and staying asleep. Both Lunesta and Ambien are designed for short-term use. They differ, however, in terms of their strengths and the length of time they work in your body.
Ambien, for example, comes in 5-mg and 10-mg immediate-release oral tablets. It is also available in 6.25-mg and 12.5-mg extended-release oral tablet dosages.
Lunesta, on the other hand, comes in 1-mg, 2-mg, and 3-mg immediate-release oral tablet strengths. It is not available in a delayed release.
Lunesta, on the other hand, is no longer acting. It may be more effective than the immediate-release form of Ambien in helping you sleep. However, the extended-release version of Ambien may help you sleep longer.
The typical dose of Lunesta is 1 milligram (mg) per day, for both men and women. If that doesn’t work, your doctor will increase it slowly.
The typical dosage of Ambien is higher. For the immediate-release tablets, it’s 5 mg per day for women and 5 mg to 10 mg per day for men. The typical dosage of extended-release Ambien is 6.25 mg for women and 6.25 mg to 12.5 mg for men. Your doctor may have you try the immediate-release form first, and then switch you to the extended-release form if needed.
You take these drugs just before you’re ready to go to bed. It’s important that you don’t take them unless you have time for seven or eight hours of sleep. Also, they won’t work well if you eat a heavy or high-fat meal before you take them. So it’s best to take them on an empty stomach.
With either medication, your dosage will be based on your gender, age, and other factors. Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose to keep the side effects to a minimum. They can adjust the dosage up or down as needed.
Potential side effects
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcementTrusted Source for Ambien. For some people, this drug caused lingering effects the morning after taking it. These effects impaired alertness. Women seem more likely to be affected because their bodies process the drug more slowly.
Common side effects
Common side effects of both drugs are lightheadedness and dizziness. You may also have continued sleepiness during the day. If you feel lightheaded or sleepy, don’t drive or use dangerous machinery.
Rare side effects
Both drugs have the potential for some rare but serious side effects, including:
- memory loss
- behavior changes, such as becoming more aggressive, less inhibited, or more detached than normal
- depression or worsened depression and suicidal thoughts
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
Neither Lunesta or Ambien should be taken with:
- antianxiety medications
- muscle relaxants
- narcotic pain relievers
- allergy medications
- cough and cold medications that may cause drowsiness
- sodium oxybate (used to treat muscle weakness and narcolepsy)
- Some other substances that can interact with these drugs are detailed in the Healthline articles on
- eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zolpidem (Ambien).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medications that you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements or herbal products.
Don’t drink alcohol while using sleeping pills.
Both drugs carry the risk of dependency and withdrawal. If you take high doses of either one or use it for more than 10 days, you may develop a physical dependency. You’re at greater risk of developing a dependency if you’ve had substance misuse problems in the past.
Stopping suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal include shakiness, nausea, and vomiting. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, speak to your doctor about reducing your dose a little at a time.
Special warning for Ambien CR
If you take Ambien CR, you shouldn’t drive or engage in activities that require you to be completely alert the day after you take it. You may still have enough of the drug in your body the next day to impair these activities.