Lunesta Warnings and Precautions
There are a number of important Lunesta warnings and precautions to be aware of, including serious side effects to look out for and certain existing medical conditions you should report to your doctor before starting Lunesta. Prior to beginning treatment, let your healthcare provider know if you have depression, liver disease or liver failure, or a history of any addiction. Potential side effects of Lunesta may include drowsiness, depression, hallucinations, or memory problems.
- Sleep apnea or other types of respiratory disease, such as emphysema or COPD
- Liver disease or liver failure, including cirrhosis
- A history of any addiction
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Drink alcohol.
Also, tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may currently be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some precautions and warnings with Lunesta to be aware of include:
- Lunesta can interact with certain medications (see Lunesta Drug Interactions).
- If you drink alcohol, let your healthcare provider know prior to starting Lunesta. In general, people should not use alcohol when taking Lunesta because it can increase the risks of developing Lunesta side effects (see Lunesta and Alcohol).
- Lunesta can cause drowsiness and other sedating effects. Taking Lunesta with other medications that cause drowsiness can increase the risk of side effects.
- Lunesta is considered a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means that Lunesta may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking Lunesta if you are pregnant (see Lunesta and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Lunesta passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about this.
- Lunesta is considered a sedative-hypnotic type of medication. If you notice any changes in your behavior (such as anything unusual or disturbing) while taking Lunesta or other sleep medicines, notify your healthcare provider immediately. As with most sedatives or hypnotics, withdrawal symptoms are possible with Lunesta if it is stopped suddenly (see Lunesta Withdrawal).
- Insomnia can be a sign of other physical or mental problems. If your insomnia does not improve within seven to ten days of taking Lunesta, talk to your healthcare provider about other insomnia causes that may be affecting you.
- Because Lunesta works very quickly, it should be taken right before bedtime. After you have taken a dose of Lunesta, do not do anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving, operating machinery, or piloting an airplane. Taking Lunesta while staying awake can result in memory problems, hallucinations, and other problems.
- Lunesta has not been studied in people with sleep apnea or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Talk to your healthcare provider before taking Lunesta if you have any lung problems, including COPD or sleep apnea.
- Elderly people may be more sensitive to the effects of Lunesta and may need to be started at a lower dose.
Sedative-hypnotic medications (such as Lunesta) can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. An allergic reaction to Lunesta can occur even with your first dose of the drug. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as an unexplained rash, itching, hives, wheezing or trouble breathing, or unexplained swelling (especially of the throat, lips, or mouth).
- There have been reports of "sleep-driving," "sleep-eating," or other unusual behaviors in people taking sedative-hypnotic medications. In general, people do not remember doing these things when they wake up in the morning. These activities can be dangerous, since people are not fully awake or alert.
- If you have depression, talk to your healthcare provider before taking Lunesta, as depression can be a Lunesta side effect (see Lunesta and Depression). Suicide is more common in people with depression, and some people may intentionally take a lethal overdose of Lunesta (see Suicide by Lunesta).
- Lunesta should not be used in people with severe liver problems, including liver failure or cirrhosis.
- Lunesta is a controlled substance and may be habit-forming. Abuse or dependence with Lunesta is more likely to occur when higher doses are used for long periods of time and in people with a history of drug or alcohol addiction. If you have an addiction problem, talk to your healthcare provider before taking Lunesta.