Lunesta Lawsuits

Lunesta is a sleeping pill designed to help individuals fall asleep and remain asleep. It was first approved by the FDA in 2004 and has become one of America's most popular sleeping pills. Although the manufacturers of Lunesta, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, maintain that Lunesta is a safe product, there have been reported side effects associated with taking Lunesta. This drug has been reported to cause sleepwalking and memory loss in patients and can cause adverse effects when mixed with other medications.

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Why Are There Lunesta Lawsuits?

After taking Lunesta, a number of people have reported episodes of sleepwalking that have led individuals to engage in dangerous and erratic behavior while still being in a sleeping state. Additionally, some Lunesta takers have reported short-term memory loss the hours after taking Lunesta independent of sleepwalking episodes. This causes plaintiffs to not remember driving or performing other activities directly after taking the drug. 

Why Are Plaintiffs Filing Lawsuits?

Claims being made include the injuries that Lunesta has caused to individuals while they were in a sleepwalking state or experiencing memory loss. Additionally, plaintiffs also claim that the company providing Lunesta has failed to warn patients and medical professionals about the dangers of taking Lunesta. 

What Lunesta Lawsuits Are There?

One of the most notable Lunesta lawsuits is Swoverland v. GlaxoKlineSmith where the plaintiff claimed that his combination of Lunesta and an anti-depressant called Paxil resulted in depression and suicidal thoughts. He claimed that this mixture of drugs caused him to engage in an unsuccessful attempt to kill himself and his daughter, leading him to a prison sentence. The plaintiff claimed he was not adequately warned about the potential for erratic behavior while taking Lunesta. 

Are There Any Lunesta Lawsuit Settlements?

As of 2023, there are no recorded Lunesta lawsuit settlements in regard to the injuries of patients taking the drug. 

Are There Active Lunesta Lawsuits?

Claims are still being investigated, but as of 2023, there are no active class-action lawsuits against Lunesta. 

What Is Lunesta?

Lunesta is a widely used drug to aid patients who have poor sleeping patterns. It may help patients to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and decrease the amount of times they may wake up during the night. Overall, Lunesta is used to increase the quality of sleep in the patient. 

Lunesta belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics and acts on the patient’s brain to produce a calming effect. This calming effect makes the patient more susceptible to sleep. This sleeping aid is recommended to be used for a short period of 1-2 weeks.

How Does Lunesta Work?

The active ingredient in Lunesta is eszopiclone, which is also known as a selective GABA reuptake inhibitor. Selective GABA uptake inhibitors bind to certain GABA receptor sites and partially block the function of GABA receptors (excitement, anxiety, etc.), resulting in sedation. 

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that causes the patient to experience trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good quality sleep. Short-term insomnia can be caused by stressful changes in routine or drastic life changes. To diagnose insomnia, you may have to keep a sleep diary to track how you sleep and how much you sleep for a period of time. 

Short-term insomnia can last a couple of days or weeks and will often go away on its own. However, chronic insomnia lasts longer than 3 months. Some ways doctors may treat chronic insomnia is through lifestyle habit changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and some medications to help manage the symptoms of insomnia.  

What Causes Insomnia?

It’s not always clear what can cause one’s insomnia, but there are a lot of factors that can feed into one’s insomnia such as: 

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor sleeping environment (uncomfortable bed, too much light, too noisy, too hot or cold)
  • Lifestyle factors (jet lag, drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Physical health conditions
  • Certain medications

What Are the Symptoms of Insomnia?

If insomnia begins to affect your everyday functions, it’s important to talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.

Insomnia symptoms may include: 

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up too early or throughout the night
  • Not feeling rested after sleeping
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Difficulty focusing or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing sleep anxiety

What Are the Risk Factors of Insomnia?

Some factors that can increase the risk of developing insomnia include: 

  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Stress
  • Age 
  • Menopause
  • Lifestyle changes/choices
  • Other sleep disorders such as

What Are the Side Effects of Lunesta?

It’s important to be mindful of the side effects that occur as you may need to receive medical attention if experiencing them.

More common side effects that may occur while taking Lunesta include:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain
  • Painful urination
  • Sleepiness 

Some of the less common side effects that may occur include: 

  • Bladder pain
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Vomiting

What Is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking – also known as somnambulism – is when someone is able to get up and walk around while still in a sleeping state. It’s recorded more often in children than adults and usually stops occurring after the teen years. Recurrent sleepwalking may suggest an underlying sleep disorder. 

What Are the Symptoms of Sleepwalking?

A sleepwalking episode can occur sporadically and an episode can last up to several minutes or longer.

Someone who is sleepwalking may: 

  • Get out of bed and walk
  • Have a glazed, glassy-eyed expression
  • Not communicate with others
  • Be disoriented after being awakened 
  • Have sleep terrors

A person who is sleepwalking can also: 

  • Do routine activities like getting dressed
  • Leave the house
  • Drive a car
  • Engage in unusual behavior
  • Engage in sexual activity without awareness
  • Get injured
  • Become violent immediately after waking

What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Sleepwalking?

Some factors that can make sleepwalking episodes more frequent or longer include: 

  • Stress
  • Fever
  • Alcohol
  • Another sleep disorder
  • Genetics
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Medications
  • Migraines
  • Head injuries
  • Brain swelling
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Stroke

What Treatments Are There for Sleepwalking?

There are medications that doctors typically prescribe to patients experiencing sleepwalking episodes like Estazolam, Clonazepam, and Trazodone.

Other sleepwalking treatment options include: 

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Mental imagery
  • Anticipatory awakenings

What Is Memory Loss?

Memory loss is unusual forgetfulness and the inability of one to remember new events, recall memories from the past, or, in some cases, both. 

What Are the Symptoms of Memory Loss?

Memory loss symptoms usually encompass many statements or questions said by the patient to indicate their forgetfulness.

This can include things such as: 

  • Asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Forgetting common words when speaking
  • Mixing words up
  • Taking longer to complete familiar tasks
  • Misplacing items in inappropriate places
  • Getting lost while walking or driving
  • Having changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason

What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Memory Loss?

Factors that can increase the risk of or effects of memory loss include: 

  • Air pollutants
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Head trauma 
  • Sleep disorder
  • Hypertension

What Treatments Are There for Memory Loss?

There is no definitive cure for memory loss, but there are treatments that many doctors and physicians recommend to help with memory loss.

Some medications that can temporarily improve memory loss symptoms are: 

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors
  • Memantine
  • Other medications

Other doctors prefer to use therapies to help with behavior problems that may be causing memory loss.

These therapies include: 

  • Occupational therapy
  • Changes to the patient’s environment
  • Simpler tasks 

What Are the FDA’s Warnings About Lunesta?

The FDA has required manufacturers of Lunesta and other sleep aid drugs to include a boxed warning of the possible side effects of the drug. A boxed warning is the highest level warning the FDA gives and indicates that the drug should only be used if absolutely necessary. 

After reviewing many reported cases of serious injuries, the FDA’s boxed warning tells patients that they may experience unknown behavior during sleepwalking or a period of memory loss. These behaviors are often dangerous with many driving vehicles, wielding weapons, and performing sexual acts. 

Is Lunesta Still on the Market?

Despite the warnings, Lunesta is still on the market and can be taken as a tablet medication or administered via an IV. Additionally, other drug manufacturers have been pushing to create generic versions of Lunesta to put on the market as well.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.