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The Dangers of Mixing Lunesta and Alcohol

Lunesta is the brand name of eszopiclone, a prescription medication for treating insomnia. It belongs to a group of sleep drugs known as non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics. 

5 Minute Read | Published Aug 29 2023 | Updated Feb 26 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Norman Chazin
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Norman Chazin
Reviewed by

Lunesta is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it has a high potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction. Misusing Lunesta on its own can result in severe adverse effects, including overdose. However, mixing Lunesta and alcohol is even more dangerous and could be potentially fatal.

Risks of Mixing Lunesta and Alcohol

Mixing Lunesta and alcohol is extremely risky and can have life-threatening consequences. Both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which means they both slow down various CNS functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.

When you take two CNS depressants together, their individual effects become even more pronounced, which could lead to stopped breathing. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of experiencing adverse effects, developing a dependency, and overdosing. Furthermore, while most people who overdose on Lunesta recover, all recorded fatalities to date have been in combination with either alcohol or other

Before you start taking the sleeping pill, Lunesta, be sure to inform your doctor if you have or have had:

What are the Side Effects of Mixing Both Substances?

The potential risks and side effects of mixing Lunesta and alcohol include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Headache
  • Bodily pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Decreased libido
  • Unusual dreams
  • Complex sleep behaviors, such as sleepwalking, sleep driving, or sleep eating
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Inappropriate sexual or aggressive behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Worsening of depression
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions 

If you mix Lunesta and alcohol to try to enhance their desirable effects, such as euphoria and relaxation, you are at risk of experiencing complications, including a life-threatening overdose. The sooner you seek help the lower your chance will be of overdosing or experiencing physical and psychological consequences. Call (800) 429-7690 to speak to a rehab support specialist about treatment options.  

Overdose on Lunesta and Alcohol

Using Lunesta and alcohol together increases the likelihood of overdosing on these depressants. And while it’s possible to overdose on Lunesta alone, concurrent use of both alcohol and Lunesta increases the chance of an overdose-related death.

Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose

The signs and symptoms of an overdose on Lunesta and alcohol may include:

  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

An overdose on CNS depressants can cause someone to stop breathing, leading to hypoxia, which means the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. Hypoxia can have negative short- and long-term consequences, such as permanent brain damage.

If you suspect someone has overdosed, call 911 immediately. Provide as much information about the person as possible, including what they took and how much. Perform CPR if the person is not breathing and there is no automated external defibrillator (AED) is available.

Withdrawal Risk and Dangers

If you are dependent or addicted to Lunesta and alcohol, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to reduce or discontinue use.

Lunesta and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological and range from mild to severe and potentially fatal.5,6 This is why you should never try to reduce or discontinue use on your own without medical supervision. 

Withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting Lunesta and alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness/tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach and muscle cramps
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Unusually pale face
  • Severe Lunesta and alcohol cravings

In the case of long-term use or severe addiction, Lunesta and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe and potentially fatal, if you don’t receive medical care and detox services. Symptoms of complicated withdrawal include:

  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations (delirium tremens)

It’s estimated that the mortality rate for people with delirium tremens is between 5% and 25%. The likelihood of experiencing withdrawal seizures increases with every past withdrawal episode you experienced.

Long-Term Effects of Lunesta and Alcohol Use

Chronic Lunesta and alcohol abuse can cause many harmful medical and psychological complications, such as:

  • Brain damage (due to overdose)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmias
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Fatty liver
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Compromised immune system
  • Slower pulse and breathing rate
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries
  • Tolerance (which increases the risk of overdose)
  • Dependence and withdrawal
  • Addiction

Treatment for Lunesta and Alcohol Abuse

If you are addicted to Lunesta, alcohol, or both, you should receive a medical detox. That will help keep you comfortable and–more importantly–safe during the withdrawal process. Detoxing from alcohol and Lunesta under medical supervision is crucial. Both substances can cause dangerous and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens and seizures.

Once your detox is complete, your doctor may recommend polydrug addiction treatment that can properly address both addictions. Polydrug addiction is a substance use disorder that involves the simultaneous use of more than one substance. 

No matter your situation, it is important to find a rehab program that uses an individualized treatment plan that caters to your unique needs.

Unfortunately, finding the right treatment on your own can be difficult, especially if you do not have a medical background. You may not know what options are available, what to look for, or even where to begin. 

The good news is that you do not have to do it alone.

The first step you need to take is simple: just call our helpline at (800) 429-7690. This will put you through to one of our treatment support advisors. They will help you find the right rehab for you. 

Common Questions About The Dangers of Mixing Lunesta and Alcohol

You should never mix Lunesta (eszopiclone) with alcohol. Consuming even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of side effects, dependency, overdose, and death.

Lunesta and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. When you take different CNS depressants together, their individual effects, such as slowed heart rate and breathing, become even more pronounced. This increases the risk of side effects, including overdose and death.

You should not use Lunesta if you drank alcohol that evening or before bed.

Yes, you can. While most Lunesta overdoses are not fatal, all recorded deaths have been in combination with either alcohol or other CNS depressants.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March).
"What are prescription CNS depressants?"
Retrieved on September 28, 2021
bullet Federal Drug Administration. (2019, August 18).
"LUNESTA® (eszopiclone) tablets."
Retrieved on September 28, 2021

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