Q. I’ve taken Lunesta for years to help me sleep. Recently, I find my mind is clouded the next day, so I would like to stop. A specialist in insomnia told me I do not have insomnia, but I had already gotten hooked on Lunesta. What is the best way to quit?
I stopped cold turkey three days ago, but I just can’t get to sleep. It takes hours and I’m very sleepy all the next day. If tapering off is better, how would you do it?
A. You are not the only person who has found that taking Lunesta to get to sleep at night results in impairment the next day. A randomized, placebo-controlled study of 91 individuals found that people who took 3 mg of eszopiclone (Lunesta) at bedtime did not perform as well on tracking tests the following day (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Oct., 2012). It can be difficult for individuals to assess their own impairment in such situations.
Partly in response to the study, the FDA has just recommended that starting doses of Lunesta be lowered to 1 mg. This may work to your advantage by making it easier for you to taper your dose gradually.
For more information on the pros and cons of Lunesta and other sleeping pills, as well as alternative approaches to overcoming insomnia, we are sending you our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.