Zopiclone, also known as Imovane, is a non-benzodiazepine drug used to treat sleeping disorders (insomnia). It is a hypnotic agent used for the short-term treatment of severe insomnia in adults. Zopiclone is available on prescription only and comes in the tablet dosage form.
What Is Zopiclone Used For?
Zopiclone is used for:
- Short-term treatment of insomnia
How Does Zopiclone Work? Mechanism Of Action
Zopiclone boosts the effect of a calming chemical in your brain known as GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid). It helps you to fall asleep faster and reduces the number of awakenings throughout the night. Zopiclone maintains the quality of your sleep and relieves insomnia (sleeping difficulty).
Zopiclone belongs to the class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. These drugs make you less alert or drowsy, helping in sleep induction.
How Effective Is Zopiclone?
Zopiclone is effective for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It starts to produce an effect within 1 hour. If you take zopiclone properly, i.e., before bedtime and for the short term on an as-needed basis, the drug will be effective and safe for relieving insomnia.
How Should I Take Zopiclone?
- Take zopiclone exactly as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.
- Do not take more than the prescribed dose of zopiclone.
- Do not crush, chew, break, or dissolve the tablets. Swallow the pill as a whole with a full glass of water.
- You can take zopiclone with or without food.
- If you forget to take zopiclone at night, leave your missed dose and wait for the next night to take the drug.
- If not necessary, take zopiclone 2 to 3 times a week, rather than every night.
Zopiclone Dosage Form And Strengths
- Zopiclone tablets: 3.75 mg and 7.5 mg
Your doctor will prescribe a dose based on your:
- Severity of disease
- Disease history
What Dose of Zopiclone Should I Take?
Take zopiclone as prescribed or recommended by your doctor, as the dose can vary from patient to patient.
Do not suddenly stop taking the drug without your doctor's suggestion. If you are taking zopiclone for the long-term, i.e., four weeks or more, do not abruptly stop zopiclone. Reduce your dose and slowly stop the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
If you were taking zopiclone for the short-term, i.e., less than a month, it is less likely that you will have withdrawal effects.
The standard dose of zopiclone is:
- 7.5 mg tablet before going to bed. Take only one tablet of 7.5 mg at night.
- For patients who have liver disease, kidney problems, or are older adults (65+ years), the dose may be reduced to 3.75 mg. Take only one tablet of 3.75 mg before going to bed.
Why Is Zopiclone Considered A Good Treatment For Insomnia?
Zopiclone is considered a good treatment for insomnia as the drug is a hypnotic agent and works to help fall asleep faster and decrease awakenings during the night.
What Are The Side Effects Of Zopiclone?
The common side effects of zopiclone include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Irritability, restlessness, and aggression in the elderly.
Zopiclone has the risk of falls as it affects your concentration and sleepiness. The risk of falls is higher in patients who:
- Are habitual of waking or getting out of bed at night.
- Are older adults (65 years or older)
- Are taking another sedative, anti-anxiety, or antiepileptic medicine along with zopiclone.
The severe side effects of zopiclone include:
- Memory loss
- Skin rash
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Slurred speech
- Changes in vision
- Behavioral changes
- Severe drowsiness
If you take a high dose of zopiclone or more than prescribed, you may experience symptoms like:
- Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
- Feeling lightheadedness, dizzy, and fainting.
- Losing balance
- Deep sleep and going into a coma.
- Psychiatric adverse effects like psychosis, depression, suicidal thoughts, and schizophrenia.
In case of the above symptoms, get emergency care right away.
How To Manage Zopiclone Side Effects?
The common side effects of zopiclone go away with time. So, you don't need to worry about them as they usually occur. However, if they persist or become intolerable, consult your pharmacist to switch your medication.
The side effects of zopiclone vary from patient to patient. Here are some tips for managing the common side effects of zopiclone:
- If you feel sleepy during the daytime while on zopiclone therapy, do not drive, ride a bike, or operate machinery during the day.
- For managing side effects of dry mouth or metallic taste in the mouth, take sips of water or juices. Try using a mouthwash before going to bed.
- For managing GIT disturbance or nausea with zopiclone, use the drug during or before a meal.
- Do not engage in any mentality exerting activity after taking zopiclone. Take sleep as the drug causes dizziness and drowsiness. Engaging in mentally exerting activities will increase the side effect of drowsiness.
- Do not take zopiclone if you have been allergic to this drug.
- Drink plenty of fluids for managing constipation and GIT disturbances.
- If zopiclone affects your mental health, consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
- Take zopiclone only when you face difficulty in sleeping at night.
- Avoid taking alcohol when you are on zopiclone therapy.
- Along with taking zopiclone, also try non-pharmacological measures to treat insomnia. For example, addressing psychological stress, daily exercise, and improving diet and hygiene.
- Zopiclone is eliminated through the liver. Hence, if you have liver failure or any liver disease, it can increase the chances of adverse effects and prolong the elimination of zopiclone to 12 hours from your body. In healthy individuals, the elimination of zopiclone takes up to 5 hours approximately. Inform your doctor or pharmacist about your liver disease before taking zopiclone to reduce its dosage or switch to another drug.
When Should Zopiclone Not Be Taken?
If you have the following conditions, inform your doctor and pharmacist before taking zopiclone.
- Alcohol intoxication
- Myasthenia gravis
- Substance abuse or drug abuse
- Respiratory failure
- Severe liver impairment
- Zopiclone should be avoided in children under 18 years old.
- Severe sleep apnea
- Neuromuscular respiratory weakness
- Breathing difficulties
- Psychiatric disorders
- Kidney disease
- If you take any OTC medicines, antidepressants, sedatives, or seizure medications, inform your doctor before taking zopiclone.
Alternative Treatment Options For Insomnia
For people who cannot tolerate zopiclone or are allergic to the drug, other alternatives to treat insomnia are available such as:
Can I Buy Zopiclone Online?
Yes, you can buy zopiclone online if you have a prescription, and its online delivery is applicable in your nearby pharmacy. Zopiclone is a prescription-based drug that has the potential for abuse. Hence it is sold with caution and on prescription.
When should I take Zopiclone?+
You should take one dose of zopiclone tablet before bedtime at night. Do not take the drug later if you miss your dose, as it may interfere with your daily activities in the daytime.
How long does it take for Zopiclone to work?+
Approximately zopiclone takes around 1 hour to work.
Can I take Zopiclone while pregnant?+
No. The use of zopiclone during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not recommended. The drug is excreted in breast milk, so its use in breastfeeding can be risky.
If the drug's benefits outweigh its risk factors, you can take zopiclone during pregnancy but with caution and close monitoring.
Use zopiclone in pregnancy only on an as-needed basis for the short term instead of making yourself habitual of using the drug daily.
Can I drive after taking Zopiclone?+
No. You should not drive after taking zopiclone. Take zopiclone just before sleeping in case you face difficulty falling asleep. Zopiclone causes sedation, dizziness, drowsiness, and headache; hence driving after taking zopiclone can be hazardous and cause accidents or injuries.
How long can I take Zopiclone for?+
Take zopiclone as prescribed or recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. You can take zopiclone for a maximum of 4 weeks. Zopiclone is usually not given for more than two weeks as your body gets used to the drug quickly, causing dependence.
Does long-term use of Zopiclone have adverse effects on my health?+
Yes. Taking zopiclone in the long-term can adversely affect your health, and you become dependent on the drug. Gradually, it becomes difficult to sleep without taking medicine. Because of these reasons, zopiclone is recommended for short-term treatment, i.e., not more than two weeks.
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