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Eszopiclone is a type of medication from the group of drugs known as hypnotic sedatives. These sedatives are tranquilizing drugs that slow down the functions of the brain and body. They are primarily used to assist patients suffering from insomnia. Insomnia may be indicative of more serious health conditions. For this reason, it’s important to talk to your doctor about long-term use of eszopiclone.

What is Eszopiclone?

Eszopiclone is a prescription medication from the group of drugs known as nonbenzodiazepines. It is a hypnotic sedative used to treat insomnia. Within the nonbenzodiazepine group, eszopiclone belongs to a class of drugs called cyclopyrrolones. This class includes a variety of other drugs that also serve as sedatives.

Eszopiclone works by acting upon specific receptors in the brain, enhancing the effectiveness of naturally occurring chemicals on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurons that trigger sleep. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and aids in regulating the excitability of neurons in the central nervous system. Eszopiclone acts upon GABA receptors very quickly, suppressing the patient’s ability to remain awake within a matter of hours.

What is Eszopiclone Used to Treat?

Eszopiclone is prescribed to treat chronic sleeplessness, also known as insomnia. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can cause a variety of ill effects in an otherwise healthy individual. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, persistent irritability, anxiety, depression, and poor attention. Eszopiclone is used to enhance a patient’s general quality of sleep over a short period of time.

In some cases, insomnia is related to other health problems like severe back pain. These other causes for sleeplessness must be investigated and addressed to avoid long-term use of sleep-inducing drugs. If eszopiclone is used for a period of time that exceeds six months, drug dependency or tolerance may become an issue. Talk with your doctor about your specific health problems before beginning a regimen that includes eszopiclone.

Deciding if Eszopiclone Is Right for You

As with any prescription drug, the use of eszopiclone may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following side effects, or notice any other unusual symptoms following use of eszopiclone, talk to your doctor to rule out a potentially hazardous condition.

Side effects of eszopiclone may include:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Decrease in sexual desire
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness, dizziness or lack of coordination
  • Feeling steady upon standing or walking
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dry mouth or unpleasant taste sensation
  • Swelling of face, mouth or throat
  • Itching or burning rash
  • Hallucinations or short term amnesia
  • Memory problems
  • Unusually aggressive behavior or irritability
  • Abnormal thoughts and behavior
  • Mental changes
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Flu-like symptoms

These and other side effects may be worsened when the drug is used in conjunction with other medications, street drugs or alcohol. Medications that should not be combined with eszopiclone include pain relievers containing propoxyphene. This combination may depress the central nervous system, resulting in coma or death. Using eszopiclone with sodium oxybate can lead to depression of the respiratory system. This may cause fatal breathing problems.

Some patients have reported engaging in strange behavior while under the effects of this medication; however, they experience complete amnesia of the events upon waking. If you experience any unusual behavior, inform your doctor immediately. You should also refrain from taking the medication until you’re aware of how the drug will affect your abilities to operate heavy machinery.

In addition to these known side effects, the use of eszopiclone during pregnancy may be harmful to an unborn baby. Before using eszopiclone, let your doctor know if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or are nursing a child.

Common Side Effects of Eszopiclone

If you experience symptoms of persistent sleeplessness or insomnia, talk to your doctor to see if eszopiclone may be right for you. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms can be improved with a treatment plan that includes eszopiclone.