Sleep disorders can leave you physically and emotionally drained, and with so many insomnia treatment options available, it can feel like a daunting task to navigate through the different medications to find which one would be best for you.
In this article, we will give a side-by-side comparison guide of two popular insomnia medications, Lunesta and Restoril. We will discuss how these medications work, what they treat, and the warnings associated with each drug so that you can be better informed before discussing insomnia treatment options with your healthcare provider.
If you are experiencing sleep issues and believe you would benefit from insomnia treatment, let Klarity help. We believe that you deserve affordable and accessible care for your insomnia from the comfort of your own home.
Start by taking our free 2-minute self-evaluation, and we will connect you to a licensed provider who will help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve.
What is Eszopiclone?
Eszopiclone is the drug name for Lunesta, a sedative or hypnotic medication that is used to treat insomnia. This medication works by binding to inhibitory GABA receptors in the brain to slow activity and help you fall asleep.
Lunesta Forms and Doses
Lunesta is available in 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg tablets. When starting the medication, you are typically started on the lowest dose of 1 mg, taken at night right before bedtime.
The dose can be increased weekly, as needed, with a maximum dose of 3 mg per day. Lunesta is considered to be a schedule-IV controlled substance because of its potential for abuse and dependence and, therefore, should not be taken for long periods.
Conditions Lunesta Treats
Lunesta is only FDA-approved for the treatment of insomnia. This medication helps you initially fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Insomnia is a relatively common condition and can have serious consequences if you are not getting adequate sleep most nights out of the week. Sleep plays an important role in maintaining your physical and emotional well-being, and if you are not getting enough rest throughout the night, you are likely experiencing consequences throughout the day.
Secondary symptoms of insomnia include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty with concentration
- Lack of motivation or energy
- Increased appetite
- New or worsening anxiety or depressive symptoms
- Difficulty with memory
Eszopiclone or Lunesta is a relatively expensive medication if it is not covered by your health insurance plan or you are uninsured. The retail price for a 30-day supply of Lunesta is around $586 but can be significantly reduced to under $7 with the use of coupon codes. Coupons are available at the majority of large name-brand pharmacies.
Lunesta Side Effects
As with any medication, there are potential side effects that you may experience when starting a new medication. If you begin to experience severe or persistent side effects when taking Lunesta, contact your healthcare provider.
The most common side effects of Lunesta include:
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness or dizziness
- New or worsening anxiety or depression
- Skin rash
- Strange dreams
Lunesta Warnings For Use
A few serious adverse effects should be discussed before starting Lunesta. These are uncommon but serious potential side effects from the medication, and you should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you begin to experience any of the following:
Complex Sleep Behaviors
Lunesta can cause complex sleep behaviors, which describe any activity or behavior that the individual undergoes while they are not fully awake or conscious. This may include sleepwalking or even sleep-driving.
This is rare but can be a very serious and potentially life-threatening side effect of the medication. You should be carefully monitored when starting Lunesta and immediately discontinue the medication if you begin to experience any complex sleep behaviors.
Limit Long-Term Use
Lunesta is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia and should not be used consistently for long periods. As previously mentioned, this medication is a schedule-IV controlled substance, according to the FDA, because of its potential for abuse and dependence.
Those with a current or past history of substance abuse should avoid this medication, and your healthcare provider must complete a full psychiatric history and evaluation before prescribing this medication.
Long-term use of this medication has been associated with an increased risk of behavioral and psychiatric changes, including irritability, bizarre behavior, hallucinations, and depersonalization.
If you are taking this medication daily for an extended period, do not abruptly discontinue the medication, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are unhappy with your medication or are thinking of stopping it, as they will safely taper you off the medication by slowly decreasing your dose weekly.
As always, disclose all medications you are currently taking with your healthcare provider, including all over-the-counter medications and supplements. There are several interactions with Lunesta that can be potentially dangerous, including seemingly harmless over-the-counter medications.
Drugs to avoid with Lunesta include:
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines
- Other sleep aids
- Opioid pain medication
- Antihistamine medications, including Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Vistaril
- Cold and cough medicines
- Muscle relaxants
- Recreational drugs, including marijuana and Kratom
What is Restoril?
Restoril is the brand name of the drug Temazepam, which belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. Restoril and other benzodiazepine medications bind to inhibitory-GABA receptors in the brain and work to slow activity, creating a calming or sedative effect. Due to these effects, benzodiazepines are considered to be central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
Restoril Forms and Doses
Restoril is available in 7.5 mg, 15 mg, 22.5 mg, and 30 mg capsules. The recommended starting dose is 7.5 mg but can be increased or decreased weekly based on your response to the medication and individual needs.
Your healthcare provider will determine which dose is right for you, and because of the serious adverse effects of this medication, it is important to take your medication as prescribed.
Conditions Restoril Treats
Restoril is FDA-approved for the treatment of insomnia. It is important to note this medication is intended for the short-term treatment of insomnia and should not be taken for an extended time due to its risk of abuse and dependence.
The term “off-label” refers to any use that has not been approved by the FDA but may still be effective. Since Restoril is a benzodiazepine medication and a CNS depressant, it can also be used off-label for anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, seizures, and muscle spasms.
Not getting enough sleep at night can present in different ways, but the most common insomnia symptoms include issues with sleep onset and sleep maintenance. Sleep onset is referred to as the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, and sleep maintenance is your ability to stay asleep.
Restoril is known to be effective for getting you to sleep and staying asleep throughout the night, so this medication may be beneficial for those who have issues with initially falling asleep and for those with frequent nighttime awakenings.
When compared to Lunesta, Restoril is a more affordable option. The cost of Restoril will vary depending on your insurance coverage, your dosing, and which pharmacy you use.
If you are uninsured, you can find coupon codes at all large name-brand pharmacies that significantly lower the cost of your monthly prescriptions. The average retail price of Restoril is around $180-300, and coupon codes can reduce the cost to less than $50 for a 30-day supply.
Restoril Side Effects
As with any medication, there is a risk of developing side effects when taking Restoril. Most of these side effects are mild and tolerable, but there are a few serious side effects, and you should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you begin to experience them.
Some common side effects of Restoril include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Loss of coordination
- Changes in vision
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in memory
- Increased anxiety or irritability
- GI upset, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dry mouth
- Numbness or “pins and needles” sensation on the skin
Serious side effects to alert medical attention:
- Changes in mental status
- New or worsening anxiety or depression
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm
Restoril Warnings For Use
It is important to disclose all past and current medical history with your healthcare provider before starting a new medication. Restoril may not be the best medication for you if you have a history of significant liver, kidney, or lung disease.
Restoril is considered to be a schedule-IV controlled substance by the FDA due to its high risk for abuse and dependency. Therefore this medication should be avoided by those who have a current or past history of substance abuse.
Restoril should also be used with caution in the elderly population over the age of 65 due to the increased risk of side effects and safety issues surrounding the loss of coordination, falls, and injury.
Restoril is a strong CNS depressant and, therefore, has several drug interactions that can be potentially dangerous. As always, it is important to disclose all medications that you are currently taking with your healthcare provider before starting a new medication, including all over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Drug interactions with Restoril include:
- All other CNS depressant medications, including alcohol, opioid pain medication, and other benzodiazepines
- Other sleep aids
- Certain antihypertensives, such as Lisinopril, Lasix
- Medicines to treat neuropathic pain: Cymbalta, Gabapentin, Lyrica
- Psychiatric medications: Trazodone, Seroquel, Zoloft
Which Insomnia Medication Should I Take?
With many insomnia treatment options to choose from, figuring out which medication is right for you can be challenging. After discussing your symptoms with your healthcare provider, they will help navigate this process with you to find the best medication for you.
Lunesta and Restoril Frequently Asked Questions
We went over a lot of information, and it can be confusing to compare two medications that act similarly. Below we have answered some of the most common questions about Lunesta and Restoril.
Are Lunesta and Restoril the same class of drugs?
No, although both medications act similarly on GABA receptors to calm the mind and promote sleep, Lunesta and Restoril belong to two separate classes of medications. Lunesta is considered a sedative-hypnotic drug, while Restoril is a benzodiazepine medication.
What’s better for Insomnia? Lunesta or Restoril?
Restoril and Lunesta are approved for the short-term treatment of insomnia and are both effective medications to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Some studies have shown that Restoril may be preferred over Lunesta because it is tolerated better with minimal side effects.
Can Lunesta cause depression? Can Restoril?
Both Lunesta and Restoril have the potential to cause new or worsening anxiety and depression after starting the medication.
Can I drive on Lunesta or Restoril?
No, you should avoid operating heavy machinery, including driving a vehicle, after taking either medication due to their sedative effects. These medications should be taken at night right before bedtime.
Can I drink alcohol when taking Lunesta or Restoril?
You should avoid drinking alcohol and all central nervous system (CNS) depressants while taking either medication because of the increased risk of adverse effects and dangerous levels of CNS depression.
Does it matter what time of day I take Lunesta or Restoril?
Both Lunesta and Restoril are prescribed to be taken immediately before bedtime due to their sedative effects.
Start Your Insomnia Treatment Today With Healthcare Providers on Klarity
Not getting enough sleep throughout the night can have serious consequences on your daily personal and professional lives. At Klarity, we understand that when you don’t get the rest you need, you are suffering throughout the day.
If you believe you would benefit from insomnia treatment, let Klarity help. We will connect you with an insomnia-trained healthcare provider within 48 hours.
Don’t go another sleepless night. Schedule an appointment today on Klarity and get one step closer to the good night’s rest that you deserve.
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