Zopiclone belongs to the class of medications called sedative-hypnotics. It is used for the short-term and symptomatic relief of sleep disturbances. Zopiclone can help with difficulty falling asleep, frequent wake-ups during the night, or early morning awakenings. Zopiclone should usually not be taken for more than 7 to 10 consecutive days. It should be used only by people for whom disturbed sleep results in problems functioning during the day.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, round, biconvex, film-coated tablet, printed “Z 5” on one side and “P” on the other side, contains zopiclone 2 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carboxymethylcellulose sodium, cornstarch, dibasic calcium phosphate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide.
How should I use this medication?
The usual starting dose is 2 mg taken just before bedtime when required to help with difficulty sleeping. The recommended adult dose of zopiclone ranges from 2 mg to 7.5 mg. The maximum daily dose is 5 mg for seniors, people with reduced liver or kidney function, and people taking certain medications. This medication may be habit-forming and should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You should not typically use zopiclone for more than 7 to 10 days in a row.
If you have been taking this medication regularly for an extended period of time, do not stop taking it suddenly without talking with your doctor.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take this medication when a full night’s sleep is not possible or before you would need to be active and functional. Impaired judgement and memory lapses may occur in such situations. Your body needs time to eliminate the medication from your system. Wait at least 12 hours after taking this medication before driving or engaging in other activities that require mental alertness.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to zopiclone or any ingredients of this medication
- have myasthenia gravis
- have severe breathing difficulties
- have severe liver disease
- have sleep apnea
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- behaviour changes
- clumsiness or unsteadiness (more common for seniors)
- confusion (more common for seniors)
- daytime anxiety or restlessness
- difficult or laboured breathing
- difficulty with coordination (more common for seniors)
- drowsiness (severe)
- memory problems (more common for seniors)
- shortness of breath
- signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
- withdrawal effects (e.g., abdominal cramps, vomiting, sweating, tremor, seizures)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between zopiclone and any of the following:
- anticonvulsants (medications used to prevent seizures; e.g., phenytoin, valproic acid, carbamazepine)
- anti-anxiety medications (e.g., alprazolam, clonazepam, lorazepam)
- anticonvulsants (medications used to prevent seizures; e.g., phenytoin, valproic acid, carbamazepine, gabapentin)
- antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, doxylamine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, loratadine)
- antipsychotic medications (e.g., olanzapine, quetiapine
- “azole” antifungals (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole)
- barbiturates (e.g., butalbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- chloral hydrate
- grapefruit juice
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., delaviridine, efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., darunavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- magnesium sulfate
- muscle relaxants (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine)
- narcotic or opioid medications (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)