Zopiclone is an oral sedative used to treat insomnia for a short period. It belongs to the group of colloquially named Z medicines, Zaleplon and Zolpidem. It is mainly used as a treatment plan for people who have difficulty falling asleep, wake too early or lie awake for long periods of the night.
It works by stimulating the brain cells to aid in the sleep process. Though FDA approved, it is recommended not to take this drug on a long-term basis and cautiously use it with antidepressants and other sedatives, which can react with its structure and affect the central nervous system.
Facts about Zopiclone
Zopiclone was first developed and introduced by South African Pharmaceuticals in 1986. It is available in both tablets as well as liquid form. It is used to aid people with sleep disorders along with relieving daytime anxiety. It is important to take Zopiclone in measured doses as its effect lasts for more than 12 hours, and the drowsiness may last till the next day.
Zopiclone should be used judiciously. Using it for a prolonged period may cause withdrawal anxiety, and other symptoms when discontinued. Zopiclone is the only drug among the Z drugs to be classified as a sedative and a barbiturate. Its anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties make it a popular choice of medication.
How and when to take it?
Zopiclone tablets come in 2 strengths- 3.75mg and 7.5mg. As it is a moderate sedative, it should be used cautiously. You should inform your practitioner regarding any systemic conditions before using the medication so as to avoid any adverse reactions. Also, read the leaflet inside the packet of the medication before consuming it. It will give you required information about the medicine such as side effects, precautionary measures etc.
It is usually prescribed to take the 7.5mg tablet once every night before going to bed for patients age between 30-65 years. For patients above 65 years, the 3.5mg dose is advised in the same routine. The tablet is usually advised for 2-3 days a week and repeated weekly than daily. These tablets are strictly for short-term use. Do not use them for more than four weeks. If you have missed a dose, do not overdose to make up for the missed dose. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children and pets.
Zopiclone tablets have a weird metallic taste and cause dry mouth. Try chewing sugar-free gum or candy to get over this taste. It can cause a drowsy feeling lasting up to the next day. Do not drive after taking it or use heavy machinery till its effects have completely worn off.
Who should and who shouldn’t take Zopiclone?
Zopiclone is used exclusively in people undergoing treatment for insomnia, facing difficulty falling asleep or not getting quality sleep. It is also recommended for secondary cases of insomnia induced by situational and psychiatric factors causing debilitating and distressing conditions for the patient. These factors, along with episodes of nocturnal or early awakening, call for the short-term and judicious use of the medication.
While useful in providing relief to a majority of people, there are certain conditions in which it should be avoided. Patients with respiratory insufficiency should strictly be treated with the 3.5mg strength of the medication. The same goes for patients with hepatic insufficiency or age above 65 years.
Zopiclone should be given a wide pass in pregnant or breastfeeding ladies to avoid risking the fetus or mental development of the baby. It is seriously contradicted in the cases of Myasthenia Gravis, sleep apnea and hepatic insufficiency. Also, it should never be used in people hypersensitive to the medication or its excipients.
Side effects and coping mechanism
Dependence on Zopiclone is one of the most concerning issues that can lead to a number of side effects. The coping mechanism of people differs from person to person. Some hypersensitive patients may develop more dependence on the medication than others. Doctors recommend Zopiclone when all other sleep hygiene techniques failure when it’s imperative to lower dependency on other drugs.
Dizziness, sleepiness and tiredness are the most prevalent side effects of the drug that may last for up to 24 hours. It is recommended not to drive or operate any heavy machinery till the effects completely wear off the system.
Zopiclone may sometimes produce serious side effects like losing your memory, falling over, being delusive or having hallucinations and mood swings from time to time. Get medical help as soon as you begin to experience such symptoms.
Drug interactions with other medicines
Zopiclone tends to create an enhanced central depressive effect when used in combination with CNS depressants. Care should be taken while co-administering it with hypnotics, sedatives and anesthetic medicines to not overdo their effects. Extensive screening of the patient’s symptoms should be done before combining it with sedative antihistamines.
Zopiclone, being a benzodiazepine, should be used cautiously with narcotic analgesics. Concomitant use of these drugs may increase the dependence on them, resulting in an addiction. Additionally, Zopiclone used for one-time effect with carbamazepine might not be an issue. But its long-term usage may result in a decrease in the effectiveness of either medicine.
It is also to be noted that drugs like Rifampicin, St John’s Wort and Phenytoin cause structural changes in the composition of Zopiclone, leading to a subsequent increase of its plasma levels. Detailed research of the drug interactions is important to avoid these interactions.
Some commonly asked questions on Zopiclone.
What is rebound insomnia?
Rebound insomnia is the difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep after abruptly discontinuing the sleeping pills. It is observed in Zopiclone patients after discontinuing the tablet. Using the tablet 2-3 times a week and tapering the dose to a stop can prevent rebound insomnia to a great extent.
How many hours of sleep can you get with Zopiclone?
Zopiclone can enable you to 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep after taking medicine. It stays in the system for around 12 hours before being flushed out of it. Additionally, it can make you feel sleepy and tired the next day as well.
Can Zopiclone help in patients with dementia?
Sleep disturbances are common in dementia, and studies have shown that Zopiclone, with its sedative and hypnotic effects, does work positively in providing symptomatic relief. But its long-term use can worsen the symptoms because these medications should be used wisely, especially in dementia patients.
Are there any long-term side effects of Zopiclone?
Over the long term, Zopiclone can result in nightmares, amnesia, heart palpitations, and even abdominal pain with flu-like symptoms. Its use should be limited to the short-term and gradually tapered to avoid such symptoms.
We hope this article has helped you find the information you have been looking for, Zopiclone. Just make sure to buy Zopiclone from a reputed online seller to rest assured of its good results for sure.