FDA lowers dosage of popular sleeping pill

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring that the starting dosage for a popular sleep medication be cut in half.

The drug, Lunesta, is commonly prescribed for people with insomnia, and the current recommended starting dose for men and women is 2 milligrams to be taken at bedtime. However, a new study has found that taking more than 1 mg of the sleep drug at night can lead to dangerous next-morning side effects, including psychomotor and memory impairment. Researchers expressed concern that such side effects could have a negative effect on a person's driving ability. According to the study, the impairment caused by higher doses can last as long as 11 hours after the drug is taken, with little awareness by the patient.

Based on that research, the FDA is changing the recommended starting dose from 2 mg to 1 mg. Experts said that the dose could gradually be increased to 2 mg or 3 mg if needed, but patients should be aware that they may suffer some impairment the next day.

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Sourced from: Reuters, U.S. FDA lowers starting dose of sleep drug Lunesta over safety