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By Kajal Jain

M. Pharm

12 December 2022
Medically reviewed by
zopiclone-vs-diazepam-which-is-better-and-why
Table of Contents

Sleep deprivation is Americans' most widely reported sleep disorder. An estimated prevalence of 9.5% of people living with insomnia and 19.1% of adults suffering from Anxiety prevails in the United States. 

Anxiety is another mental health disorder that is connected with sleep problems. Both diseases are closely intertwined but are both treatable. We are here to do a comparative analysis of two drugs that belong to different classes but are somewhere related. 

Zopiclone is a medication for short-term insomnia, and Diazepam helps manage Anxiety and muscle cramps. You need to know more information on these medications so that you would be able to understand the Ins and Outs of the drug working.

What Is Zopiclone?

Zopiclone (Zimovane) is a sleep aid prescribed for the short-term treatment of severe insomnia. It belongs to the non-benzodiazepine class of drugs and is also called z drugs. It helps you fall asleep quickly and also helps stop you from waking up during the night. It acts on a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain called Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

Zopiclone comes in tablet and liquid form for people who have difficulty swallowing pills. Most adults over the age of 18 years can take Zopiclone. 

What Is Diazepam? 

Diazepam belongs to a benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is used to treat Anxiety, seizures, and muscle spasms. It increases the level of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain called Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It can be taken as pre-medication to make you feel calm before an operation or dental treatment. It also reduces alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or sweating. 

It comes in tablet and liquid form for people who have difficulty swallowing pills or in a rectal tube. It shall also be given as an injection bolus in the hospital. Diazepam is not recommended for longer than 4 weeks.

How Does Zopiclone Work?

The cyclopyrrolone hypnotic drug Zopiclone works due to the allosteric modulation of the GABA receptor. The consequence of this interaction with the GABA receptor is to potentiate responses to GABA, i.e., it increases the standard transmission of the brain chemical GABA in the central nervous system via modulating benzodiazepine receptors in the same way that benzodiazepine drugs do. In this way, Zopiclone creates a calming sensation in your brain and allows it to work on your Sleep and Anxiety.

Due To the effect of GABA, Zopiclone's work for Anxiety, Reduce the degree of activity in your entire brain. This relieves Anxiety and sleeplessness and alters many of the body's vital processes.

How Does Diazepam Work? 

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that shows its therapeutic effect by binding to a specific subunit on the GABA (neurotransmitter of the brain) receptor. Diazepam binds at a site different from the binding site of the endogenous GABA molecule. 

Due to the function of Diazepam as a GABA-positive allosteric modulator, when it binds to the receptors, it causes inhibitory action that arises from the hyperpolarization of the post-synaptic membrane. This helps to work on your Anxiety levels and makes you an anxious-free person.

Commonality Between Zopiclone And Diazepam

Zopiclone and Diazepam have unique characteristics and properties that make them more efficient drugs than one another. Both drugs vary in pharmacology, morphology, pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties. Let us find out about the similarities and dissimilarities of these drugs.

Conditions Diazepam Zopiclone
Binding to receptor GABA receptor GABA receptor
Pregnancy category Category C Category C

Difference Between Zopiclone vs Diazepam

Brand Name Diazepam Zopiclone
Class of drug Benzodiazepine Non - Benzodiazepine
FDA Approval FDA approved FDA approved
Indications Severe Insomnia Used for anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures
Dosage Recommended daily dose is 2 mg to 10 mg, 2 to 4 times daily

Recommended daily dose is 7.5mg once daily before bedtime

A lower dose of 3.75mg is for older

Dosage Form Available as an oral tablet, liquid solution, and rectal formulation Available as an oral tablet, sublingual, oromucosal (spray), and rectal formulation
Oral bioavailability  76% (oral), 81% (rectal) 80%
Plasma peak concentration 76% (oral), 81% (rectal) 80%
Elimination half-life 1 to 1.5 hours 1 to 2 hours

Which Is More Effective: Zopiclone Vs Diazepam

Zopiclone and Diazepam differ in many ways, so it would not be easy to compare their efficacies at first. Zopiclone helps you stay asleep, while Diazepam is an anti-anxiety medication and a muscle relaxant.

Zopiclone is molecularly different from benzodiazepine medicines and is classed as a cyclopyrrolone drug. The other drug, Diazepam (Valium), is a benzodiazepine, which is thought to work by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Both medications belong to separate classes for a reason. Although both drugs have many similarities, most people experience an amnesic effect from Zopiclone. With Diazepam, most people have improved Anxiety with reduced CNS function; furthermore, you are much more likely to remember activities performed while on Diazepam, given it is not hypnotic. On a tolerance discussion, you will develop a tolerance to Diazepam much more quickly than Zopiclone—that should always be a factor when considering longer-term usage.

Zopiclone is generally regarded safe than benzodiazepines such as Diazepam. However, if the former is taken at higher doses over many years, it may cause a risk of tolerance or dependence.
Various sleep aids other than Zopiclone include Temazepam, Doxepin, Eszopiclone, Clonidine, Rozerem, Suvorexant, Trazodone, Triazolam, Zolpidem, and Zaleplon.
You should not mix these two medications. Take one or the other to avoid adverse reactions. They are both sedating.

Possible Side Effects

Along with the therapeutic effect of any medicine, they may also cause undesired side effects. Although all of these side effects might not occur, if they do occur, they might need medical attention. Speak to your doctor in case of any side effects are observed.

Does The Medicine Belong To A Controlled Substance?

Recognizing the potential working of the medicine that specific medicines have for misuse, Abuse, and dependence, the US established the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970. The CSA mandates that pharmacies, manufacturers, distributors, and healthcare professionals diligently ensure controlled substances' safe and effective delivery under this Act. 

Drugs controlled by the CSA categorize into one of five schedules. Each schedule attempts to classify drugs based on their medical value, the potential for Abuse, and Safety standards. 

Diazepam and other Benzodiazepines 

They are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances with a low risk of abuse and dependence but are still considered dangerous. 

It is also classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance with a low risk of abuse. Benzodiazepines or Zopiclone should only be prescribed short-term for conditions where the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks, with regular review of the use.

Drug Interactions of Zopiclone vs. Diazepam

There are several drug interactions among people who take Diazepam and Zopiclone. Everyday interactions include overdose among males and hyperhidrosis among females.

The phase IV clinical study analyzes the interactions people taking Zopiclone and Diazepam have. It was created by eHealthMe based on reports of 2,866 people from the FDA who take Diazepam and Zopiclone and is updated regularly.

Phase IV trials detect adverse drug outcomes and monitor drug effectiveness in the real world. With big medical data and AI algorithms, eHealthMe is running millions of phase IV trials and making the results available to the public.

Here is a list of drug interactions between Zopiclone and Diazepam-

Zopiclone

  • Alcohol
  • Antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, doxylamine, loratadine, diphenhydramine)
  • anti-anxiety medications (e.g., alprazolam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam)
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol, chlorpromazine, clozapine, risperidone)
  • antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • Barbiturates (e.g., butalbital, phenobarbital)
  • Calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, verapamil)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir, darunavir, saquinavir)
  • HIV-NNRTIs (e.g., etravirine, efavirenz)
  • Muscle relaxants (e.g., methocarbamol, baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine)
  • MAO Inhibitors (e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, tranylcypromine)
  • Narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, morphine, fentanyl)
  • St. John's wort
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., desipramine, amitriptyline)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g., fluoxetine, citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • Kava Kava, cannabis

Diazepam

  • Alcohol
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol, chlorpromazine, clozapine, risperidone)
  • antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • Antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, doxylamine, loratadine, diphenhydramine)
  • Barbiturates (e.g., butalbital, phenobarbital)
  • Calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, verapamil)
  • Other benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, lorazepam)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., indinavir, atazanavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
  • HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., etravirine, efavirenz)
  • MAO Inhibitors (e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, tranylcypromine)
  • Narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl)
  • Muscle relaxants (e.g., methocarbamol, baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., clomipramine, amitriptyline, desipramine, trimipramine)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g., fluoxetine, citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • Phenytoin, clonidine, cannabis

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

As every medication has a bit of difference, it also has a few commonalities between the drugs that are almost the same. Zopiclone and Diazepam have different classes of drugs and unique pharmacological properties. 

Zopiclone treats short-term insomnia, while Diazepam helps manage Anxiety, seizures, and muscle cramps. Both medications act on the same receptor and are well-tolerated. The side effects of both medicines are also comparable. It is advised to take treatment after consultations with the concerned healthcare professional. 

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