What is Zopiclone used to treat?

Zopiclone is commonly known by the brand name Imovane or Zimovane. It is a medication often prescribed to people experiencing chronic insomnia and sleep disturbances. This can include difficulty falling or staying asleep throughout the night. This non-benzodiazepine hypnotic calms the central nervous system. This allows for more deep sleep and improved sleep duration. Zopiclone boosts the effectiveness of the chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)in the brain. In this blog post, we will shed light on what Zopiclone is typically used to treat. We will also take a closer look at its side effects and usage guidelines.

Insomnia and sleep disturbances

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder affecting a considerable portion of people worldwide. It can manifest as sleep-onset insomnia (trouble falling asleep). You can also experience sleep-maintenance insomnia. It is waking up in the middle of the night and having difficulty falling back asleep.

Various factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, mental health problems, medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle habits, can cause insomnia. Prolonged insomnia can severely impact an individual's quality of life. This can lead to daytime fatigue, memory lapses, and a weakened immune system.

One of the primary uses of Zopiclone is to treat insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Zopiclone belongs to a group of medicines called Z-drugs (Zolpidem and Zopiclone). They are renowned for their sedating effects in promoting sleep. These medications act on the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor. It enhances GABA's natural calming effect on the nervous system. This induces drowsiness and uninterrupted sleep.

How to use Zopiclone safely?

Zopiclone is a prescription sleeping pill, and it is vital to consult your doctor before taking Zopiclone. The typical prescribed dose for adults is 7.5mg, taken just before bedtime, and should not be used for more than 2 to 4 weeks. Zopiclone has a relatively fast onset time. It induces calming effects occurring within 60 to 90 minutes. Taking Zopiclone on an empty stomach is advised for more rapid absorption.

Zopiclone and alcohol

Since Zopiclone is a potent hypnotic agent. It is imperative not to drink alcohol or other sedatives when using this medication. Doing so can cause excessive drowsiness. It increases the risk of difficulty waking, difficulty breathing, accidents or injuries. So, avoid alcohol when taking Zopiclone. In addition, not driving or performing tasks requiring mental alertness after taking Zopiclone is also crucial.

Zopiclone and pregnancy

Pregnant women should not take Zopiclone unless explicitly prescribed by a doctor. This can impact the baby's health. It may cause drowsiness or Zopiclone withdrawal symptoms in newborn babies. The baby may have to be kept in the hospital for monitoring.

Zopiclone and breastfeeding

If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor might suggest ways to improve sleep naturally. This is called the 'sleep hygiene approach' or cognitive behavioural therapy.

Zopiclone passes into breast milk in minimal amounts. Your doctor may prescribe Zopiclone for occasional use if your baby is fully healthy. If you see any abnormal behaviour in the baby, talk to your doctor immediately.

Who may not take Zopiclone?

Zopiclone may not be safe for everyone. Avoid Zopiclone if you:

  • Had an allergic reaction to Zopiclone or other similar medicines
  • Have severe liver problems
  • Have kidney problems
  • Have myasthenia gravis
  • Have breathing problems
  • Have sleep apnoea
  • Have mental health issues
  • Have a history of alcohol or drug abuse

Zopiclone side effects and withdrawal effects

While Zopiclone can be helpful for managing insomnia, it can cause possible side effects. Some common side effects include drowsiness, double vision, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, feel sleepy or tired the next day, and metallic taste. More adverse effects may include amnesia, shallow breathing or inability to breathe properly, hallucinations, depression, feeling anxious, severe allergic reactions or sleepwalking.

In addition to its side effects, Zopiclone has the potential to cause physical and psychological dependence. It happens when used for an extended period or taking too much Zopiclone. This can lead to Zopiclone addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms include anxiety, tremors, and rebound insomnia. Rebound Insomnia refers to a return of sleep problems that are even worse than before. It happens when the medication is taken for more than four weeks.

It is essential to disclose any other medicines, supplements, or herbal remedies you are using to your doctor before taking Zopiclone to avoid potential drug interactions. Do not exceed the recommended dose or take an extra dose. For further information, read the patient information leaflet.