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LUNESTA (ESZOPICLONE): CLINICAL TRIALS
The effect of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) on reducing sleep latency and improving sleep maintenance was established in studies with 2100 subjects (ages 18-86) with chronic and transient insomnia in six placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 months' duration. Two of these trials were in elderly patients (n=523). Overall, at the recommended adult dose (2-3 mg) and elderly dose (1-2 mg), Lunesta significantly decreased sleep latency and improved measures of sleep maintenance (objectively measured as wake time after sleep onset [WASO]
and subjectively measured as total sleep time).
Healthy adults were evaluated in a model of transient insomnia (n=436) in a sleep laboratory in a double-blind, parallel-group, singlenight trial comparing two doses of eszopiclone and placebo. Lunesta 3 mg was superior to placebo on measures of sleep latency and sleep maintenance, including polysomnographic (PSG) parameters of latency to persistent sleep (LPS) and WASO.
Chronic Insomnia (Adults and Elderly)
The effectiveness of Eszopiclone (Lunesta) was established in five controlled studies in chronic insomnia. Three controlled studies were in adult subjects, and two controlled studies were in elderly subjects with chronic insomnia.
In the first study, adults with chronic insomnia (n=308) were evaluated in a double-blind, parallel-group trial of 6 weeks' duration comparing Lunesta 2 mg and 3 mg with placebo. Objective endpoints were measured for 4 weeks. Both 2 mg and 3 mg were superior to placebo on LPS at 4 weeks. The 3 mg dose was superior to placebo on WASO.
In the second study, adults with chronic insomnia (n=788) were evaluated using subjective measures in a double-blind, parallel-group trial comparing the safety and efficacy of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) tablets 3 mg with placebo administered nightly for 6 months. This medication was superior to placebo on subjective measures of sleep latency, total sleep time, and WASO.
In addition, a 6-period cross-over PSG study evaluating eszopiclone doses of 1 to 3 mg, each given over a 2-day period, demonstrated effectiveness of all doses on LPS, and of 3 mg on WASO. In this trial, the response was dose-related.
Elderly subjects (ages 65-86) with chronic insomnia were evaluated in two double-blind, parallel-group trials of 2 weeks' duration. One study (n=231) compared the effects of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) with placebo on subjective outcome measures, and the other (n=292) on objective and subjective outcome measures. The first study compared 1 mg and 2 mg of Lunesta with placebo, while the second study compared 2 mg of Eszopiclone (Lunesta) with placebo. All doses were superior to placebo on measures of sleep latency. In both studies, 2 mg of Lunesta was superior to placebo on measures of sleep maintenance.
Studies Pertinent to Safety Concerns for Sedative/Hypnotic Drugs
Cognitive, Memory, Sedative, and Psychomotor Effects
In two double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose cross-over studies of 12 patients each (one study in patients with insomnia; one in normal volunteers), the effects of Eszopiclone (Lunesta) tablets 2 and 3 mg were assessed on 20 measures of cognitive function and memory at 9.5 and 12 hours after a nighttime dose. Although results suggested that patients receiving Lunesta 3 mg performed more poorly than patients receiving placebo on a very small number of these measures at 9.5 hours post-dose, no consistent pattern of abnormalities was seen.
In a 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of nightly administered Lunesta 3 mg, 8/593 subjects treated with Eszopiclone 3 mg (1.3%) and 0/195 subjects treated with placebo (0%) spontaneously reported memory impairment. The majority of these events were mild in nature (5/8), and none were reported as severe. Four of these events occurred within the first 7 days of treatment and did not recur. The incidence of spontaneously reported confusion in this 6-month study was 0.5% in both treatment arms. In a 6-week adult study of nightly administered Lunesta (Eszopiclone) 2 mg or 3 mg or placebo, the spontaneous reporting rates for confusion were 0%, 3.0%, and 0%, respectively, and for memory impairment were 1%, 1%, and 0%, respectively.
In a 2-week study of 264 elderly insomniacs randomized to either nightly Eszopiclone (Lunesta) 2 mg or placebo, spontaneous reporting rates of confusion and memory impairment were 0% vs. 0.8% and 1.5% vs. 0%, respectively. In another 2-week study of 231 elderly insomniacs, the spontaneous reporting rates for the 1 mg, 2 mg, and placebo groups for confusion were 0%, 2.5%, and 0%, respectively, and for memory impairment were 1.4%, 0%, and 0%, respectively.
A study of normal subjects exposed to single fixed doses of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) tablets from 1 to 7.5 mg using the DSST to assess sedation and psychomotor function at fixed times after dosing (hourly up to 16 hours) found the expected sedation and reduction in psychomotor function. This was maximal at 1 hour and present up to 4 hours, but was no longer present by 5 hours.
In another study, patients with insomnia were given 2 or 3 mg doses of Eszopiclone (Lunesta) tablets nightly, with DSST assessed on the mornings following days 1, 15, and 29 of treatment. While both the placebo and Lunesta 3 mg groups showed an improvement in DSST scores relative to baseline the following morning (presumably due to a learning effect), the improvement in the placebo group was greater and reached statistical significance on night 1, although not on nights 15 and 29. For the Eszopiclone 2 mg group, DSST change scores were not significantly different from placebo at any time point.
Withdrawal-Emergent Anxiety and Insomnia
During nightly use for an extended period, pharmacodynamic tolerance or adaptation has been observed with other hypnotics. If a drug has a short elimination half-life, it is possible that a relative deficiency of the drug or its active metabolites (i.e., in relationship to the receptor site) may occur at some point in the interval between each night's use. This is believed to be responsible for two clinical findings reported to occur after several weeks of nightly use of other rapidly eliminated hypnotics: increased wakefulness during the last quarter of the night and the appearance of increased signs of daytime anxiety.
In a 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled study of nightly administration of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) 3 mg, rates of anxiety reported as an adverse event were 2.1% in the placebo arm and 3.7% in the Lunesta arm. In a 6-week adult study of nightly administration, anxiety was reported as an adverse event in 0%, 2.9%, and 1.0% of the placebo, 2 mg, and 3 mg treatment arms, respectively. In this study, single-blind placebo was administered on nights 45 and 46, the first and second days of withdrawal from study drug.
New adverse events were recorded during the withdrawal period, beginning with day 45, up to 14 days after discontinuation. During this withdrawal period, 105 subjects previously taking nightly Eszopiclone (Lunesta) 3 mg for 44 nights spontaneously reported anxiety (1%), abnormal dreams (1.9%), hyperesthesia (1%), and neurosis (1%), while none of 99 subjects previously taking placebo reported any of these adverse events during the withdrawal period.
Rebound insomnia, defined as a dose-dependent temporary worsening in sleep parameters (latency, sleep efficiency, and number of awakenings) compared with baseline following discontinuation of treatment, is observed with short- and intermediate-acting hypnotics. Rebound insomnia following discontinuation of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) tablets relative to placebo and baseline was examined objectively in a 6-week adult study on the first 2 nights of discontinuation (nights 45 and 46) following 44 nights of active treatment with 2 mg
or 3 mg. In the Lunesta 2 mg group, compared with baseline, there was a significant increase in WASO and a decrease in sleep efficiency, both occurring only on the first night after discontinuation of treatment. No changes from baseline were noted in the Lunesta (Eszopiclone) 3 mg group on the first night after discontinuation, and there was a significant improvement in LPS and sleep efficiency compared with baseline following the second night of discontinuation. Comparisons of changes from baseline between Eszopiclone (Lunesta) tablets and placebo were also performed. On the first night after discontinuation of Lunesta 2 mg, LPS and WASO were significantly increased and sleep efficiency was reduced; there were no significant differences on the second night. On the first night following discontinuation of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) 3 mg, sleep efficiency was significantly reduced. No other differences from placebo were noted in any other sleep parameter on either the first or second night following discontinuation. For both doses, the discontinuation-emergent effect
was mild, had the characteristics of the return of the symptoms of chronic insomnia, and appeared to resolve by the second night after Eszopiclone discontinuation.
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