What is Zopiclone?

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  • Written By: K. K. Lowen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2018
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Zopiclone is a sedative and hypnotic drug used to treat insomnia. People who use zopiclone may fall asleep faster and remain asleep throughout the night. The drug is a controlled substance and requires a prescription in many countries including the United States, Canada, and some European countries. It is most commonly available in tablet form.

Many sleep-inducing drugs belong to the benzodiazepine class of medicines, but zopiclone is a nonbenzodiazepine treatment in the cyclopyrrolone family of drugs. Both benzodiazepine and cyclopyrrolone belong to a group of drugs known as central nervous system depressants. Z-drug is a common name for nonbenzodiazepines that begin with the letter z and effectively treat insomnia. Other z-drugs include zaleplon and zolpidem.

Most insomnia treatments lose their effectiveness after prolonged use, and zopiclone is no exception. The drug is also habit-forming, and patients should not use it for more than a week or two. Withdrawal for addicted patients may be extreme, especially if taken for an extended period of time and in high doses. Symptoms of withdrawal may include seizures and delirium. Additionally, zopiclone does not cure insomnia, and one may suffer from insomnia again upon discontinuing the drug’s use.


Patients must take special precautions when using the drug. Alcohol should be avoided when using the sleep aid because the mixture of alcohol and zopiclone can exaggerate the effects of both drugs. Those with liver disease may experience intensified effects and cannot eliminate the drug quickly. Additionally, patients with respiratory issues including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and sleep apnea cannot use the drug without potentially worsening the conditions.

Unwanted side effects may occur when using zopiclone. Some of the more common side effects include confusion, anxiety or restlessness during the day, coordination issues, and mood changes. Less common effects include extreme drowsiness, chest tightness, wheezing, aggressiveness, and skin rashes. Overdoses are also possible when using the drug and may cause symptoms such as unusual weakness, loss of consciousness, sluggishness, and excessive clumsiness. If any adverse reactions occur, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.

Elderly patients may be more sensitive than younger adults to the effects of zopiclone. Doctors may choose to prescribe a lower dosage for elderly patients because sensitivity to the drug may cause a lack of coordination, confusion, and increase the risk of falling. Both children and women who are pregnant or nursing also should be cautious when using the treatment. All patients should speak with a medical professional about proper dosages, medical history, and any concerns they may have about taking sleep-inducing medications.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

Zopiclone is an effective drug. I take a low dose if I've gone without any sleep for several days. Zopiclone allows me to get eight hours of sleep.

I try not to use it often for the reasons that people have already mentioned. I've also noticed that if I take zopiclone several days in a row, I experience side effects like anxiety and confusion. So this is definitely a drug that must be taken as needed.

Post 2

@candyquilt-- Zopiclone is strong and it's addictive. But like the article said, it's not meant to be used for a long period of time. It's usually given for temporary relief, it's not meant to be a treatment for chronic and long-term insomnia.

For example, some people experience insomnia only when they're very stressed or when they experience trauma. Their doctor may prescribe zopiclone in these types of situations to help the person get some sleep during that brief difficult period.

I think that zopiclone addiction and withdrawal issues occur mostly because people don't follow their doctor's directions.

Post 1

Zopiclone sounds like a strong drug. Is it a good idea to use a hypnotic drug for insomnia, especially if it's very habit forming?

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