Is it a wake-up call for the sleeping pill market? With Wednesday's approval of Sepracor's new drug, Lunesta, a taboo in the use of sleeping pills has been broken. Lunesta is the first sleeping pill whose label will not recommend it be taken for only 7 to 10 days.
The approval could clear the way for people to use Lunesta, and possibly similar drugs, for longer periods and turn sleeping pills from a market laggard into a much more widely used category of medications, sleep specialists said. "That's going to make a lot of people more comfortable prescribing longer term, because the data exists," said Dr. Michael L. Perlis, an associate professor and director of the sleep research laboratory at the University of Rochester, who has consulted for Sepracor and other drug companies.