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Difference Between Ambien and Lunesta

Difference Between Ambien and Lunesta

Ambien vs. Lunesta

There are various types of sedatives or hypnotics to treat insomnia. These generally fall under the nonbenzodiazepine group, also known as ‘z-drugs’. Belonging to the said category are Sanofi Aventis’ Ambien and Sunovion’s Lunesta, both medically approved brands for zolpidem tartrate and eszopiclone, respectively. They primarily help patients fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. They are both prescription medicines, meaning intake should be highly controlled. Moreover, due to their instant tranquilizing effect, they are likely to be abused by patients with sleeping disorders. Long-term uses of Ambien and Lunesta also pose similar side effects such as headaches, drowsiness, and shortness of breath. Although they are both intended for helping patients fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, there are also a number of differences between the two, primarily with regard to form or appearance, efficacy, allergic reactions, and other side effects.


Ambien comes in tablet form with dosage variants of 5 mg and 10 mg. The recommended dose for adults is 10 mg, taken once daily immediately before bedtime. An Ambien tablet is elliptical with the letters ‘AMB’, followed by a ‘5’ or ’10’, indicative of the dosage. The pill can be pink or white. Lunesta, on the other hand, has 3 dosage variants: 1, 2, and 3 mg, also in tablet form. Adults are usually prescribed 2 mg a day. Lunesta tablets are round and can be white, light blue, or dark blue, with an engraved ‘S193’, ‘S191’, or ‘S190’.


Ambien is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia characterized by difficulties with sleep initiation. It acts instantly and results in up to 8 hours of sleep. It is taken for 7 to 10 days or longer, depending on the physician’s recommendation. Based on controlled clinical studies, Ambien has been shown to decrease sleep latency for up to 35 days. Similarly, Lunesta takes effect right away, rendering up to 8 hours of sleep. It is also recommended to be taken for 7 to 10 days, but lasts up to 6 months in terms of efficacy. Moreover, Ambien and Lunesta don’t require a strict medication schedule; the patient needs only to dedicate a full 8 hours to sleep and let the pill take effect.

Allergic reactions and other side effects

While long-term intake of either Lunesta or Ambien has minor downsides like drowsiness, headaches, and difficulty in breathing, a number of more serious side effects can occur. Ambien can trigger allergies, sinus infections, and somnambulatory abnormalities, like sleepwalking and sleep driving. Short-term amnesia is one of the common side effects of Ambien, especially in cases where the patient awakens prematurely before medication has worn off. Lunesta, on the other hand, can cause indigestion and decreased fertility in male and female patients. In addition, alcohol is strictly prohibited with the intake of either Ambien or Lunesta, as it may increase tendencies of dizziness and behavioral inconsistencies. Furthermore, both medications may cause withdrawal symptoms after cessation of use. These include abdominal pain, muscle cramps, extreme behavioral changes, nausea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, panic, tremors, and even convulsions. Rebound insomnia is also a possibility.


  1. Ambien and Lunesta are both prescription drugs intended for the treatment of insomnia.
  2. Both come in tablet form. Ambien has two dosage variants – 5 and 10 mg, while Lunesta has three – 1, 2, and 3 mg.
  3. Ambien and Lunesta have an immediate sedative effect that lasts 7-8 hours per dosage. They are both recommended for up to 10 days of use.
  4. Ambien’s efficacy last up to 35 days, while Lunesta remains effective up to 6 months.
  5. Minor side effects such as headaches, shallowness of breath, and dizziness are common in long-term users of both Ambien’s and Lunesta. The two drugs also share similar withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

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  1. Ambien and Lunesa are said to cause abdominal (stomach?) pain.
    What about penis or testiclar pain?

  2. does lunesa leave s burnt taste on your tongue

  3. I have taken both lunesta and ambien. Ambien was fine. Lunesta made me have asthma and burning in my throat. I think I was allergic to lunesta. My insurance wanted to try lunesta, so I did a few nights. Can’t take it. Telling my dr at appt tomorrow.

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