|Type of medicine||Hypnotic (sleeping tablet)|
|Used for||Short-term treatment of insomnia in adults|
Insomnia, or poor sleep, is fairly common. There may be difficulty in falling asleep, waking during the night, or waking early in the morning.
Zopiclone is used for a short period of time to help sleeping difficulties. It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases the length of time spent sleeping. Zopiclone works by acting on the way the messages are sent in your brain, which help you to sleep.
Zopiclone is not normally taken for more than 2-4 weeks. This is because your body gets used to this medicine and after a time it is unlikely to have the same effect. Your body may also become dependent on it when it is taken for longer periods of time.
Before taking zopiclone
Before taking zopiclone make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have breathing problems or sleep apnoea (a problem where you stop breathing for short periods at night).
- If you have kidney or liver problems.
- If you have ever been dependent on drugs or alcohol.
- If you have severe muscle weakness such as in myasthenia gravis.
- If you have a mental health problem such as a personality disorder.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take zopiclone
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take zopiclone exactly as your doctor has told you.
- Take your dose just before going to bed.
- If you forget to take a dose at bedtime, do not take it at any other time and do not take a double dose the next evening to make up.
- Zopiclone is only recommended for short-term use, as the body gets used to this medicine quickly. It may be used for up to 4 weeks, but is often prescribed for much shorter periods. Do not take zopiclone for longer than your doctor tells you to, as your body could become dependent on it.
Getting the most from your treatment
- These tablets make you sleepy. If you still feel sleepy the next day, do not drive or use tools or machines.
- You should avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking zopiclone as it may increase the risk of sleepwalking and doing other things which you are unable to remember when you awake.
- When you stop taking zopiclone, your doctor may advise you to reduce the dose slowly to help prevent your sleep problems from returning. Follow any directions you are given and if you develop headaches, muscle pain, anxiety, tension, restlessness, confusion or irritability when you stop taking zopiclone, let your doctor know.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with zopiclone.
Can zopiclone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects, which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Drowsiness, dizziness||Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, or using tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|A bitter or metallic aftertaste, dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sweets|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple foods, and avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
Important: if you experience sleepwalking or do other things in your sleep that you don't remember the next day, speak with your doctor.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store zopiclone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zimovane® 7.5 mg & Zimovane® LS 3.75 mg film-coated tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Zimovane® 7.5 mg & Zimovane® LS 3.75 mg film-coated tablets, Sanofi-aventis, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zopiclone Tablets 3.75 mg, 7.5 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Zopiclone Tablets 3.75 mg, 7.5 mg, Actavis UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2008.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson