Jump to Navigation

Lunesta Fact Sheet

Printer-friendly version
Medication Name (brand): 
Medication Name (clinical): 

Sepracor; patent expires 2012.


Indicated for both sleep initiation and sleep maintenance. Indicated for both short-term and chronic insomnia.


Lunesta is the purified S-enantiomer of zopiclone, which is a non-benzodiazepine approved for treating insomnia in 80 countries. Binds to the GABA-benzodiazepine receptor complex, like benzodiazepines, but is more selective for the omega-1 receptor subtype than BZs.

  • Supplied as 1 mg light blue, 2 mg white, and 3 mg dark blue tablets.

  • Start at 1 mg QHS for elderly, 2-3 mg QHS otherwise.
  • No higher than 1 mg in hepatic impairment.

Side Effects: 
  • Most common: An unpleasant taste, and somnolence.

  • Even though it has a long half life, studies have shown little in the way of cognitive impairment even 6 hours after dosing.
  • Classified as a Schedule IV drug, but abuse potential is likely somewhat less than benzodiazepines.
  • Pregnancy Category C

Drug-drug Interactions: 
  • Substrate of 3A4, blood level doubled by ketoconazole.

  • Lunesta does not affect any liver enzymes
  • A high fat meal delays absorption by an hour


Half life is about 6 hours, 9 hours in the elderly.


One of the few hypnotics FDA approved for long-term use, although it’s likely that all the other non-benzodiazepines are equally safe used chronically.

Return to issue area