A local sleep expert agrees with the FDA’s finding that Lunesta levels in some patients may still be high enough after a night’s sleep to impair activities that require being alert – such as driving -- even if they feel awake.
“These medications are effective because they change brain activity levels,” said Dr. Harly Greenberg, Medical Director of the North Shore-LIJ Sleep Disorders Center. “When too much of the drug is left in the body on the next day, the user’s ability to perform certain daily tasks…such as driving…could definitely be impaired.”
The FDA announced today that it is requiring the manufacturer to change its label and lower the current recommended starting dose.
Taken at bedtime, the recommended starting dose has been decreased from 2 miligrams to 1 mg for both men and women. A lower dose means less of the drug will remain in the user’s body in the morning.
Dr. Greenberg advises patients who are taking the higher dosage of Lunesta to speak to their health care provider.
“Along with speaking to their physicians about the proper dosage, people suffering from insomnia should be aware that there are a variety of behavior-modification programs as well as other medications that can be used to address the problem.”