Compare Ambien vs. Lunesta

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Ambien
(Zolpidem)

Lunesta
(Eszopiclone)

Helps you sleep. Ambien (Zolpidem) is good for falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause disturbing side effects.Helps you sleep. Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is good for falling asleep and staying asleep. Not as habit-forming as some sleep medicines, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.089219330855019Ambien
Reviews for Ambien (Zolpidem)
66%
of people say Ambien (Zolpidem) is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Lunesta (Eszopiclone)
54%
12% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
35%
15% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
17%
1% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
Side effects
AmbienLunesta
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Drowsiness 3%
  • Allergy 3%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Lack of energy 2%
  • Lightheadedness 1%
  • Low mood disorder 1%
More Ambien side effects »
  • Unpleasant taste 31%
  • Headache 8%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Infection 7%
  • Dry mouth 4%
  • Indigestion 4%
  • Dizziness 3%
  • Pain 3%
  • Rash 3%
  • Itching 3%
More Lunesta side effects »
How it works
AmbienLunesta
Ambien (Zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.
Type of medication
AmbienLunesta
SedativePrescription only
SedativePrescription only
Available as
AmbienLunesta
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
AmbienLunesta
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienLunesta
  • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Liver problems
    • Muscle disease
    • Elderly
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Ambien (Zolpidem) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Ambien (Zolpidem) risks & warnings »
    • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Less than 7 hours of sleep.
    • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
    • Taking with alcohol or drugs that acts in the brain
      • Elderly
      • Higher dose
      • Liver problems
      • Taking Lunesta (Eszopiclone) with other nervous system depressants
      • Long-term use
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Breast-feeding
      Detailed Lunesta (Eszopiclone) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      AmbienLunesta
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
      • Might not be safe if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, lung disease, or a condition that affects metabolism.
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
      Food
      • Works best if taken without food.
      • Works best if taken without food.
      Kidneys and liver
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Ambien (Zolpidem) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Ambien (Zolpidem) if any sleep-related activities occur.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) make you feel drowsy and sleepy, leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if your older. Falls from sleep medicines like Ambien (Zolpidem) have caused severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injury. You may need a lower dose if you're taking other medicine that affects your nervous system or have issues with falls in the past. Check with your doctor first.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      • Not as habit-forming, so you can use it for longer than most other sleep medicines.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Lunesta (Eszopiclone) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
      • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Lunesta (Eszopiclone) if any sleep-related activities occur.
      • Lunesta (Eszopiclone) make you feel drowsy and sleepy, leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if your older. Falls from sleep medicines like Lunesta (Eszopiclone) have caused severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injury. You may need a lower dose if you're taking other medicine that affects your nervous system or have issues with falls in the past. Check with your doctor first.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      AmbienLunesta
      • Extended release form is particularly good for staying asleep, and you can use it for longer than the immediate release form.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      • Not as habit-forming, so you can use it for longer than most other sleep medicines.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      Downsides and risks
      AmbienLunesta
      • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming.
      • Some people find that it's less effective over time.
      • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      • More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly.
      • Might not be safe if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, lung disease, or a condition that affects metabolism.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      AmbienLunesta
      • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Very addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • Works best if taken without food.
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Withdrawal symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
      • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
      • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Very addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • Works best if taken without food.
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Withdrawal symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
      • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
      Learn more
      More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about LunestaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert