Zopiclone is a type of sleeping pill that can be taken to treat bad bouts of insomnia.
It helps you fall asleep more quickly, and also helps stop you waking up during the night.
Zopiclone comes as tablets. It also comes as a liquid for people who find it hard to swallow tablets, but this has to be ordered specially by your doctor.
This medicine is only available on prescription.
2. Key facts
- Zopiclone takes around 1 hour to work.
- Zopiclone is usually prescribed for just 2 to 4 weeks. This is because your body gets used to it quickly and after this time it's unlikely to have the same effect. Your body can also become dependent on it.
- Common side effects are a metallic taste in your mouth, a dry mouth, and daytime sleepiness.
- Do not drink alcohol while you're on zopiclone. Having them together can make you go into a deep sleep where you find it difficult to wake up.
- Zopiclone is also called by the brand name Zimovane.
3. Who can and cannot take zopiclone
Zopiclone can be taken by adults over the age of 18.
It's not suitable for some people.
To make sure zopiclone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to zopiclone or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes muscle weakness
- have breathing problems or sleep apnoea (where you stop breathing for short bouts while sleeping)
- have had mental health problems
- have had issues with alcoholism or drug abuse
- are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or breastfeeding
4. How and when to take it
Dosage and strength
Zopiclone tablets come in 2 different strengths: 3.75mg and 7.5mg.
The usual dose is to take a 7.5mg tablet just before you go to bed. It takes around 1 hour to work.
A lower dose of 3.75mg may be recommended to begin with if you're over 65 years old or have kidney or liver problems.
Taking a lower dose in these cases reduces the risk of excessive sleepiness and other side effects.
Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush or chew it. You can take zopiclone with or without food.
It's important to take it exactly as your doctor has told you. You could be asked to take a tablet on only 2 or 3 nights each week, rather than every night.
Do not take more than your prescribed dose.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget to take it by bedtime, just start again the next night.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
What if I take too much?
If you have taken more than your prescribed dose by accident, call your doctor for advice.