Published on 07 February 2023

Is Zopiclone Addictive: Things You Should Know

Table of Contents

People go through sleep problems, wherein it might affect them due to various reasons. The common reason for it would be stress. People opt for various options, even some drink alcohol to get a peaceful sleep, but it is not a good choice, so people change their preference to medicine or consulting a doctor.

Mostly people tend to get Zopiclone has a solution to treat this problem. Zopiclone drug was first introduced in 1986 and is very similar to Lunesta. It is typically used in tablet form and rehabilitation programs to treat withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism.

From 2017 to 2018 alone, millions of adults were prescribed one or more of the medicines under review, including sleeping pills. This means that a significant portion of the population is at risk of becoming addicted to drugs like Zopiclone. Let us find out the cause, signs and symptoms, and management of Zopiclone addiction.

What Is Zopiclone?

Zopiclone is a non-benzodiazepine sedative/hypnotic drug used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It helps you fall asleep easily and prevents from waking up in the night or early morning awakenings. Its long-term use is not recommended due to dependence, tolerance, and addiction risks.

It can improve sleep onset by 15 minutes and induces a euphoric dream-like state. This drug should not be taken for more than a week or ten consecutive days. This medicine is available under multiple brand names and in several different forms. Brand names include Zileze, Zimoclone, Zimovane, Zopitan, Zorclone, and more.

Zopiclone is classified as a class C controlled drug and you can only buy Zopiclone through prescription. Zopiclone is a sedative-hypnotic that has been promoted as a sleep aid in other countries but has not been FDA-approved.

The drug should be taken only by adults 18 years and older. Zopiclone is not for everyone. You must consult your doctor first to decide if the drug is the best suited for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Zopiclone is recommended for the short term. Use of this drug for longer than four weeks should be considered 'off-label.'
Clonidine is significantly better than Zopiclone for analgesia, Patient Safety, tolerability profile, or overall sleep quality.
The effects of Zopiclone were found to show for atleast 8-9 hours.

How Does Zopiclone Works?

Zopiclone works by boosting the effectiveness of a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter blocks transmission across nerves in the brain and has a soothing and relaxing effect.

Zopiclone should usually be taken for at most 7 to 10 consecutive days. It should only be taken by people for whom disruptive sleep results in problems functioning during the day.

Can You Get Addicted To Zopiclone?

Zopiclone works by increasing GABA activity in the brain, which causes a sense of tranquillity and relaxation. However, one reason why Zopiclone is addictive is that your body quickly becomes tolerant to the effects of this drug, meaning that higher doses are required to get the desired effect.

Due to this tolerance, you can develop a physical dependence on Zopiclone, where you consume it just for pleasure or to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms of Zopiclone, which arise when you discontinue taking it. An individual can get addicted to Zopiclone when taken on prescription or recreationally.

When addicted to this drug, you will continue taking it despite its negative consequences and experience strong cravings. This can make it very difficult to live a normal life as you become totally preoccupied with getting and taking the medication. Zopiclone does have the potential of addiction, but if you are taking the medicine as suggested it is quite safe.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Zopiclone Addictiveness?

Several signs and symptoms that indicate having Zopiclone addiction include the following:

  • Snorting or injecting Zopiclone
  • Taking Zopiclone tablets that are prescribed for other individuals
  • Taking more Zopiclone than prescribed, possibly indicating that they are using more to get a similar effect
  • Attempting to hide Zopiclone tablets or their usage from others.
  • Continuing with Zopiclone regardless of its effects on well-being, health, finances, and relationships
  • Buying additional Zopiclone tablets online or through street dealers
  • Becoming isolated and more withdrawn from people
  • Using Zopiclone with alcohol or other drugs or taking more Zopiclone when they cannot find other drugs like alcohol or Diazepam, which act similarly.
  • Undertaking dangerous, risky, or illegal activity as a result of taking Zopiclone
  • Trying to discontinue taking Zopiclone but being unable to do so
  • Being unable to maintain relationships and responsibilities
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms even if the drug isnt used

Who Can Be More Prone To Addiction?

Any individual taking Zopiclone gets the potential for Zopiclone addiction. However, some risk factors that can increase your chances of becoming addicted to Zopiclone include:

  • A history of substance abuse
  • A family history of addiction
  • Using Zopiclone to cope with anxiety, stress, or depression
  • Easy access to Zopiclone
  • A history of trauma for which you use Zopiclone to cope
  • Taking Zopiclone in higher doses or for a longer period than prescribed by your doctor

Zopiclone Addiction And Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the major concerns of using sleep aids is the incidence of withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing the drugs.

Research shows that when Zopiclone is taken at the appropriate clinical dose, withdrawal effects are considerably lower than benzodiazepines.

A review of studies investigating the abruptly stopping of Zopiclone found no rebound effect on sleep and only few withdrawal effects, such as vertigo and anxiety. Another study found that 0.05% of people suffer from withdrawal reactions like agitation, headache, or anxiety.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Sleep issues
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Confusion and agitation

To limit the risk of withdrawal symptoms, it is sometimes recommended that you should slowly reduce the amount of Zopiclone you take instead of stopping the drug abruptly, you should discuss with your healthcare provider.

Does Zopiclone Addiction Affect You For A Lifetime, How?

Addiction to Zopiclone can severely inhibit your ability to function at the levels necessary to maintain steady employment. You are more likely to miss work regularly, be frequently late, and make basic mistakes in your day-to-day work duties. This can hugely impact your financial well-being, which can be exacerbated by the cost of procuring the drug on the black market.

It can also have severe ramifications for personal relationships, including with partners, children, and other family members. These issues can cause further mental and emotional distress, which fuels the addiction further.

Effects Of Zopiclone Addiction

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that the lowest possible dose of Zopiclone should be used for the shortest period, warning about the many risks associated with hypnotics, such as falls, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms, and cognitive impairment, are well recognized.

As a sleeping aid, one of the most obvious side effects of Zopiclone is daytime dizziness, drowsiness, or frequent nodding off. Drinking alcohol with Zopiclone is especially dangerous as it can cause you to drift into a deep sleep that is hard to wake up from.

People taking Zopiclone regularly may also experience hallucinations, delusions, or memory loss. Rarely, people addicted to sleeping aids may also develop parasomnias, such as sleepwalking, sleep-eating, or even sleep-driving.

It would be difficult to tell if someone is addicted to Zopiclone. Still, over time, they might experience side effects such as stomach pain, chest pain, heart palpitations, constipation, dry mouth, depression, and flu-like symptoms. Someone suffering from Zopiclone addiction will begin to lose interest in normal activities, begin to withdraw from life, and neglect work or family commitments.

Detoxification Managed Medically

Detoxification is a process of getting rid of a substance of dependence from the body in a way that does not hinder the bodys physiology. The symptoms of Zopiclone addiction can be dangerous. The individuals are advised to take detox treatment under the care of specialized physicians in a medical detox facility.

During detox, doctors usually taper the user off the drugs, as abruptly quitting sleep aids can make the detox process much more difficult. When an individual completes the treatment, is stable, and meets all the requirements for discharge, they leave the detox facility to pursue further inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment, which includes therapy and counseling sessions. Here, the psychological aspect of Zopiclone addiction is treated.

Patients receive mixed therapy sessions using cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and other holistic treatments. These will be customized to individuals, as we understand that drug addiction affects everyone differently. We believe therapy should reflect this.

Precautions Of Zopiclone

The following precautions should be taken while taking Zopiclone:

  • Discontinue taking Zopiclone and contact your doctor immediately if you notice a sudden change in sleep behavior, not being fully awake after waking up, or if you are having trouble doing activities you generally do.
  • It would be best to wait for a minimum of 8 hours after taking medicine before driving or operating any machinery.
  • The effects of Zopiclone may even remain the next day after you wake up, so it's better to take about 7 to 8 hours of sleep after taking Zopiclone.
  • Elderly people are more sensitive to the undesirable effects of Zopiclone, especially dizziness or confusion.
  • Do not stop taking Zopiclone without informing your doctor, as it may cause drug withdrawal symptoms like nausea or vomiting.
  • If a person takes Zopiclone for a few weeks, there are fewer chances of getting addicted to drugs. However, you may be dependent on the drug if you take it for more than 4 weeks.

Drug Interactions

Drug-Drug Interactions

Zopiclone might interact with the following drugs:

  • High blood pressure-lowering medicines (Metoprolol)
  • Antidepressants (sertraline, bupropion, desipramine, fluoxetine, venlafaxine, escitalopram, amitriptyline, citalopram, duloxetine, mirtazapine, fluvoxamine)
  • Opioid painkillers (oxycodone, hydrocodone, naloxone, tramadol)
  • Antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, rifampicin)
  • Antifungal drugs (ketoconazole)
  • Anti-anxiety drugs (alprazolam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam)
  • Muscle relaxants (cyclobenzaprine)
  • Antiallergics/antihistamines (diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine)
  • Antiepileptic drugs (gabapentin, pregabalin).

Drug-Food Interactions

Zopiclone might interact with caffeine and St Johns wort. Also, avoid alcohol intake as it might increase the risk of dependence, psychomotor impairment (slowdown of thought process and reduced physical movements), sleepwalking, or sleep-driving.

Drug-Disease Interactions

Do not consume Zopiclone if you have severe liver disease, sleep apnoea (sudden stopping of breathing during sleep), breathing problems, extreme muscle weakness, kidney problems, or any history of depression or mental illness. However, this is not a complete list of drug interactions.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

While many have suggested that the addictive potential for this and other Z drugs is less than for most benzodiazepines, caution should be taken when prescribing this agent for insomnia.

Zopiclone can potentially be an agent of abuse and addiction but is considered a safer alternative to benzodiazepines. Ideally, prescriptions should be given for a short period and within the recommended dosage guidelines. Zopiclone does not a long-term solution for treating insomnia but may give you some relief.

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