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Zopiclone

Return to Zopiclone overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
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Taking Melatonin to treat insomnia
If I could go back I would have asked my GP for a different medication as this one did not seem to work for me at all!

You must go to A&E if you take too much

What to do if you take too much:

  • If you have taken more zopiclone than it said on the label, you must get help quickly - even if you do not feel any different.
  • Go to A&E. Take your medicine with you, to show to the doctors. Tell them how much you have taken.
  • Get a friend or family member to go with you, if you can, just in case you feel ill on the way.

You could get any of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling drowsy, confused, sleeping deeply and possibly falling in to a coma
  • Floppy muscles
  • Feeling dizzy, light headed or faint (due to low blood pressure)
  • Falling over or losing your balance
  • Shallow breathing or difficulty breathing
  •  If you have taken zopiclone with other drugs, including alcohol, you could get more serious side-effects. You must get help quickly.
  •  Tell the doctors everything you have taken, so they can help you.

It only takes a short time for zopiclone to start helping

  • Zopiclone starts to work very quickly in your body.
  • You should start to feel sleepy soon after taking it.

How long will I need to take zopiclone for?

You and your doctor should talk about how long you need to take zopiclone.

  • Usually zopiclone is not taken for more than two to four weeks.
  • Some people take zopiclone for a very short time (2-5 days).
  • Zopiclone should help you get you into a new sleep routine.
  • You will get the effects within a few hours of taking it.
  • People can become dependent on the effects of zopiclone if they take it for more than a month, and then when they stop they are more likely to get withdrawal symptoms (see information below).

Tell your doctor or pharmacist before you take zopiclone if you have any of these conditions

Do not take zopiclone, and tell your doctor, if any of these apply to you:

  • You are allergic to zopiclone or any of the other ingredients
  • You have a problem that causes severe muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
  • Your lungs do not work properly (respiratory failure)
  • You have a problem where you stop breathing for short periods at night (sleep apnoea)
  • You have severe liver problems

You also need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have any liver problems
  • You have any kidney problems
  • You suffer from mild breathing problems,
  • You have ever been dependent on alcohol or drugs
  • You have been told by a doctor that you have a personality disorder
  • You have recently taken zopiclone or other similar medicines for more than four weeks
  • You do not feel you will ever be able to stop taking zopiclone or other medicines

Zopiclone has some serious side effects, and if you get them you will need a doctor’s help 

Go to a doctor or hospital straight away if you get any of the following symptoms:

  • a rash
  • swallowing or breathing problems
  • swelling of your lips, face, throat or tongue – this might be an allergic reaction.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you get any of the following side effects:

  • Memory loss (amnesia).
  • Believing, seeing or hearing things that are not real (delusion or hallucinations).
  • Feeling low or sad (depressed mood).

Some side-effects that do appear should get better after a few days.

Not everyone will experience side effects with zopiclone. Some of the more common side effects are listed at the bottom of this page. If you are experiencing a problem that might be a side effect, but that is not listed here, please take a look at the patient information leaflet that was in the medicine packet or speak to your pharmacist or doctor. If you think you have a side effect that has not got better within a few days go back to your doctor.

The effects of some other medicines can be changed when you take them together with zopiclone

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines.

If you are having blood tests, tell your doctor you are taking zopiclone

  • Regular blood tests are not needed while you are taking zopiclone.
  • Very rarely zopiclone can affect your liver. If your liver is not working as well as usual, this would show up on a blood test as a change in your liver enzyme levels. You should tell your doctor that you are taking zopiclone if you are having a blood test.

Zopiclone does not mix well with street drugs 

  • It is very easy, and serious, to overdose with any combination of zopiclone and drugs.
  • Using cannabis with zopiclone could make you feel more sleepy. You could go into a deep sleep and find it is harder to wake up.
  • Using heroin or methadone with zopiclone may make you feel more sleepy. You could go into a deep sleep and find it harder to wake up.
  • There are many other street drugs but we don’t know what effect taking them with zopiclone will have.

People have been known to ‘sleep walk’ or do other activities while taking zopiclone

  • Some people have reported doing things like walking, preparing food, making phone calls and even driving while they were not fully awake.
  • They do not remember them when they wake, after taking a sleep medicine like zopiclone.
  • If you take zopiclone with alcohol, or with other medicines for mental health conditions like antidepressants, this is more likely to happen.
  • If this happens to you, go back to your doctor to try another medicine.

Stopping zopiclone quickly may cause withdrawal or rebound symptoms

You can stop taking it safely with your doctor’s help.

  • Zopiclone is not likely to give you withdrawal symptoms if you have been taking it for less than 4 weeks, but some people have had withdrawal symptoms.

You might get any of the following symptoms:

  • rebound sleeplessness
  • muscle pain or aches or cramps
  • feeling anxious
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • feeling agitated or confused or panicky or irritable
  • headache
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling strange, or having nightmares or hallucinations (sensing things that are not really there)
  • uncomfortable feelings in your stomach and gut
  • In serious cases you could also get the following:
  • feeling unreal in yourself
  • feeling apart from who you really are
  • feeling very sensitive to certain sounds
  • numbness and tingling of fingers and toes
  • being very sensitive to light, noise and physical contact
  • having hallucinations
  • having fits

Your doctor will help you to reduce zopiclone slowly over a few days at the end of your treatment.

Even when you do this, you may get some ‘rebound’ symptoms:

  • Your original sleeplessness may return
  • You might feel mood changes
  • You might feel anxious
  • You might feel restless
  • If you suffer from any of these symptoms, go back to your doctor for advice.

Some side-effects that do appear should get better after a few days. If they do not, you should go back to your doctor.

Don't stop taking Zopiclone until you talk to your doctor or you may get withdrawal symptoms as well.

Common - could affect up to 1 in 10 people

  • A bitter or metallic taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Daytime drowsiness