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Edluar Facts: A New Medication for Insomnia

written by: Robyn Broyles•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 7/7/2009

Edluar is a newly-approved medication for insomnia. This unique form of zolpidem is faster-acting than oral forms. Find out what makes Edluar special—and the risks of Edluar.

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    Edluar Overview

    Edluar is a prescription medication for insomnia, approved in 2009 for use in the U.S. This drug is a formulation of zolpidem tartrate, a sedative often used for treatment of short-term insomnia. It is manufactured by the Swedish drug company Orexo, and will be marketed by its partner, Meda (also a Swedish drug company). Edluar, formerly known as Sublinox, is available in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.

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    Sublingual Administration

    Edluar is unique because of its sublingual (under the tongue) administration. The tablet is placed under the tongue, where it dissolves and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. As a result, Edluar acts faster than oral formulations of zolpidem, such as Ambien. Sublingual administration also allows the drug to bypass the gastrointestinal system, whose acid and enzymes can make drugs less effective, and keeps it from immediately passing through the liver, which breaks down medications.

    Edluar uses a technology owned by Orexo for rapid-dissolving, sublingual administration. This pharmaceutical technology is an improvement over some other formulations for sublingual administration.

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    Uses

    Edluar is approved as a medication for the type of insomnia that involves difficulty falling asleep. Like other formulations of zolpidem, it is a sedative that helps the patient fall asleep without keeping the person sedated all night, which can cause morning drowsiness. Edluar is intended as a short-term treatment and is not meant for chronic insomnia.

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    Warnings and Severe Side Effects

    The warnings for Edluar are the same as for other forms of zolpidem. Because it is a central nervous system depressant, it should not be combined with other sedative drugs, including alcohol. It should be used with care in patients with symptoms of depression and in the elderly, who are more sensitive to its effects. People should not drive or operate other machinery after taking Edluar. Instead, it should be taken at bedtime right before the person tries to fall asleep.

    The strangest side effect of zolpidem is performing everyday activities while asleep, known as parasomnia. Sleepwalking is the best known parasomnia, but other parasomnias are sleep-eating and even sleep-driving. Parasomnias can be dangerous, so if you know or suspect you have experienced it while taking zolpidem, you should check with your doctor before taking another dose. Fortunately, this side effect is rare.

    Other rare but serious side effects include hallucinations and abnormal thinking and behavior. Withdrawal symptoms may occur after sudden discontinuation, but are less likely if the dosage is gradually tapered off.

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    Other Side Effects

    The side effects of Edluar are similar to the side effects for other formulations of zolpidem. Fortunately, adverse reactions are rare. For short-term use, a very small number of patients report drowsiness, dizziness, and diarrhea. For longer-term use, the risk of dizziness increases (though it remains low), and a few people also report "feeling drugged."