Kajak jain profile image
By Kajal Jain

M. Pharm

08 December 2022
Medically reviewed by
Irfana Parveen
B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)
how-long-does-zopiclone-stay-in-your-system
Table of Contents
Most of the medicine the person consumes stays for a stipulated period. Once the working of the medication is over, it tends to wear off from your body. As many people worldwide suffer from sleep problems, it has medications that help you get out of such problems. One of the drugs that are mostly consumed by people suffering from sleep disorders is Zopiclone.

Knowing the benefits, risks, adverse effects, dosage, possible interactions, and other factors of Zopiclone will help you determine the best therapy for your condition. When Zopiclone is prescribed to an individual,  it is essential to acquire complete information about the drug before starting any therapy. 

Wondering how long Zopiclone can stay in your body after its last administration? Here's what you really want to be familiar with how long it lasts in your system and more.

What Is Zopiclone?

Zopiclone (brand name- Zimovane) is a non-benzodiazepine sedative/hypnotic drug agent used to treat insomnia. It is one of the “Z drugs,” along with Zaleplon and Zolpidem, and was introduced during the second half of the 1980s. It is class C controlled medicine, available only on prescription. 

It helps you fall asleep quickly and stops waking up during the night. Most adults over the age of 18 years can take Zopiclone. It is not recommended for long-term use, i.e., more than 4 weeks for chronic insomnia, as it may cause dependence and tolerance, leading to rebound insomnia and withdrawal, if this medication is discontinued abruptly. Long-term use of Zopiclone is usually considered unapproved or "off-label" drug use. 

How Does Zopiclone Work?

Zopiclone is a non-benzodiazepine drug that functions similarly to benzodiazepines, despite differences in their chemical structures. The mechanism of action of the hypnotic drug Zopiclone involves allosteric modulation of the GABAA receptor. It potentiates the inhibitory action of the Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the CNS via modulating GABAA receptors. This brings about feelings of relaxation to reduce anxiety and induce sleep.

Being a non-benzodiazepine medicine, Zopiclone is also considered safer and more efficacious than regular benzodiazepine medications. 

Dosage: How Much Should You Consume?

Zopiclone is available in tablet form that should be swallowed whole without chewing or crushing, and in liquid form for people who find it hard to swallow tablets. You can find the medicine in two strengths, i.e., 3.75mg and 7.5mg. It is important to take Zopiclone exactly as your doctor prescribes, and it can be administered with or without food.

  • The usual recommended dose is 7.5mg tablet, to be taken immediately before going to bed. It takes around 1 hour to work. It is because your body adapts to this medicine quickly and is unlikely to have a similar effect after this time. Your body might also become dependent on it.
  • Zopiclone 3.75mg shall be recommended in the initial treatment of insomnia if you are over 65 years or have hepatic or renal disorders. Taking the lowest possible dose in such conditions reduces the risk of excessive sleepiness and other side effects.

Do not stop taking Zopiclone abruptly without consulting with your doctor. Your pharmacist or doctor might suggest you reduce your dose slowly to prevent withdrawal symptoms. However, you are unlikely to have withdrawal symptoms if you take it for less than a month.

If your sleeping problems persist after completing your treatment, change your lifestyle to help get you to sleep. Seek consultation from your doctor again if these do not help. If you forget to take Zopiclone at bedtime, skip the forgotten dose and continue taking your next dose at the regular time the next night. Avoid taking two doses at the same hours or taking an extra dose to compensate for the missed one.

How Long Does Zopiclone Stay In Your System?

Zopiclone toxicology testing can be performed on body fluids, blood, hair, and urine. However, Zopiclone can be difficult to detect because it clears quickly from the body and may be in lower dosages.

  • Zopiclone can be found in the Urine and blood for a longer term than others for at least 49h. 
  • In Saliva, it can be detected for 49h to 59h
  • In hair, it can be detected for 90 days. Hair testing may extend the window of detection and additionally may distinguish long-term use from a single exposure.

What Is The Half-life Of Zopiclone In Your System?

Zopiclone is majorly indicated for adults' short-term acute or chronic insomnia treatment. The half-life of a drug measures the time it takes to remain half the amount of an initial drug in your bloodstream. The bloodstream, however, is not the only place where the drug may be.

Zopiclone is eliminated via liver metabolism; therefore, hepatic impairment increases the risk of side effects. In healthy adults, the elimination half-life of zopiclone after a single dose is 5 hours. While in patients with liver disorder or failure, the elimination half-life is prolonged to nearly 12 hours. 

Factors Zopiclone Depends On To Get Off The Body

A few factors impact how long a sleep aid remains in your system. Setting aside the half-lives of different sleeping medicines, how quickly a drug is eliminated from the body depends on age, genetics, liver and kidney function, other substance use, and overall health. 

The elimination process of the drug is also affected by the length of time you have been taking medication and the dosage level. When stopping sleep medication, it is usually recommended to taper off the drug gradually instead of stopping it abruptly. This helps reduce some of the withdrawal symptoms that many people experience after they discontinue taking sleep aids such as Zopiclone.

What Is The Best Way To Quit Zopiclone?

Stopping Zopiclone or benzodiazepine drugs in people who have been taking these medications for the long term can be challenging. Strategies to encourage patients to stop a Zopiclone or benzodiazepine should involve education to realign the perception of risks and benefits, non-pharmacological approaches to manage anxiety or insomnia, and gradually tapering the dose. Gradual dose tapering has been shown to improve the successful discontinuation rate and avoid withdrawal effects.

General recommendations for drug withdrawal include the following-

  1. Individualize the withdrawal schedule based on the dose, indication, duration, and type of medicine (e.g., short- vs. long-acting), as the response can be variable between patients.
  2. Increasing the dispensing frequency, as more frequent dispensing of drugs helps patients stick to the withdrawal plan and reduce the risk of taking early doses, which in turn may lead to pressure for another prescription or withdrawal symptoms or picking up repeat prescriptions early. 
  3. Reduce the dose slowly to the lowest available formulation, followed by planned medicine-free days.
The drowsy effect of Zopiclone varies with the individual. In some people, drowsiness lasts 12 hours after administering the last dose. This feels like a 'hangover' with symptoms including dizziness, sleepiness, coordination problems, and falls.
You should take Zopiclone immediately before bedtime as it helps to sleep quickly and improves sleep quality. If you forget to take medicine at night, do not take it in the daytime, as it may cause drowsiness and dizziness.
Alcohol may increase the effects of Zopiclone and make you sleep deeply. There is difficulty in breathing or difficulty waking up. Thus, it is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while on Zopiclone.

Zopiclone Addictiveness And Abusing Possibility

If Zopiclone is administered regularly for an extended period, an individual can build up a tolerance/dependence to it and requires higher doses to get them to sleep. This is the reason this drug is generally recommended for short-term treatment of insomnia.

Sleep aids are often associated with the risk of addiction or dependency. However, dependence on Zopiclone is more frequently reported when it is taken at a higher than the prescribed dose and in people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Mental health problems, such as depression, have also been found to be a significant indicator when considering whether someone could become dependent. So while Zopiclone does have the potential of getting addiction, when it is taken as short-term treatment and at recommended dose, it is considered relatively safe.

Possible Side Effects Of Zopiclone

One of the most common and frequently reported adverse effects of Zopiclone, reported in nearly 10% of people, is a metallic or bitter taste. Other side effects include-

Common side effects

Serious side effects

Dizziness

Amnesia

Lightheadedness

Asthenia

Headache

Delusions

Nausea

Hallucinations

Sedation, tiredness, and drowsiness.

Dry mouth

Increased sweating

Bipolar disorder

Dry mouth

Depression

Daytime fatigue

Epilepsy

A study carried out in healthy volunteers found no residual effects of Zopiclone on psychomotor performance (i.e., activities such as driving a car, throwing a ball, or using a tool) the day after a 7.5mg dose.

The effects of Zopiclone usually persist for 8 to 9 hours, suggesting a possibility of a reduction in function after waking in the morning after a night dose. The common side effects don’t need medical attention and will disappear as your body adjusts to the dosage. But if you face any severe or rare side effects, immediately seek medical attention. 

Precautions Of Zopiclone

Special care is needed while taking Zopiclone as it can cause daytime sleepiness and affect concentration, leading to an increased risk of accidents. Before taking Zopiclone following things should be remembered-

  1. Please do not drink alcohol while taking this medication, as it can cause excessive drowsiness.
  2. Zopiclone makes you feel dizzy the following day. Do not drive or perform any activity that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  3. Zopiclone may cause a dry mouth or bitter taste in your mouth. Try to sip water and speak to your doctor if it bothers you.
  4. Speak to your doctor if you have or ever had lactose intolerance, depression, any drug allergies, or any medical condition (such as renal or hepatic disease, Myasthenia gravis, alcohol abuse, or sleep apnea)
  5. Inform your doctor if you take other medications, such as OTC drugs, supplements, or herbal remedies.
  6. Please do not stop taking the medication suddenly, as it may lead to mood change, anxiety, and restlessness. 
  7. Zopiclone is not recommended during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or about to get pregnant while taking Zopiclone, as it may cause drowsiness or likely develop withdrawal symptoms. They may want to review your treatment.
  8. This medicine should be avoided during breastfeeding as it may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in newborns.
  9. There is no evidence to state that taking Zopiclone affects fertility in either men or women. For further queries, seek a recommendation from the medical specialist. 

Zopiclone Interactions

Drug interaction may occur between a drug, food or beverage. Speak to your pharmacist or medical practitioner about all your medicines, including OTC and prescription drugs, vitamins, or herbal remedies. 
Zopiclone may show effects if you take the following medicines:

  • Anti-depressant drugs
  • Antipsychotics drugs
  • Hypnotic drugs
  • Antiepileptic drugs (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital or phenytoin)
  • Anesthetics
  • Anti-fungal drugs (such as ketoconazole and itraconazole)
  • Sedative antihistamines (such as chlorpheniramine or promethazine)
  • Protease Inhibitor for HIV infections (such as Ritonavir)
  • Antibiotics (such as Rifampicin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin)
  • Narcotic analgesics (such as codeine, morphine, tramadol, methadone, pethidine, and oxycodone)
  • St John’s Wort (a herbal medicine)

The concomitant use of Zopiclone and opioids may increase the risk of drowsiness, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. Zopiclone also changes the level of liver enzymes in blood tests. If you are going to get a blood test done, it is essential to tell your doctor that you are on this drug.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Zopiclone, a non-benzodiazepine sedative drug, helps you fall asleep quickly and stops waking up during the night. This medication appears on drug screenings, including blood, hair, and urine tests. 

However, Zopiclone can be difficult to detect because it clears quickly from the body. The time taken for this medicine to last and its symptoms depend on various factors after taking it, such as age, genetics, weight, consumption of other medicines, and overall health. 

There is a greater chance of developing tolerance and dependence to Zopiclone if taken for a longer period. Seek consultation from your doctor or pharmacist before starting with this drug.

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