How Does Zopiclone Work?

How Does Zopiclone Work?

Insomnia is believed to be caused by an imbalance of a neurotransmitter within the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. GABA is responsible for inhibiting the activity of overexcited nerve cells. This sleeping tablet, which is also known as Zimovane, enhances the effectiveness of GABA which blocks transmission across nerve cells and helps keep nerve activity balanced.

Abnormally low levels of GABA are associated with conditions like anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. When there is an inadequate amount of GABA in the brain, a variety of mental and emotional states can happen like nervousness, agitation and sleeplessness. By enhancing GABA production, zopiclone 7.5 mg tablets reduces anxiety, relaxes muscles and ultimately induces sleep.

How Long Does Zopiclone Take to Work?

After taking a tablet, this medication is rapidly absorbed and the bioavailability is 75 to 80 percent. Bioavailability is the extent to which the active ingredient in Zimovane becomes entirely available to its intended destination in the body. This medication usually takes 30 to 60 minutes before a patient starts feeling the therapeutic effects. The time to peak plasma concentration is 1 to 2 hours. Plasma levels refer to the total amount of the medication that enters the system and circulates after administration.

It is important to note that consuming a large or high-fat meal just before taking a dose tends to decrease peak plasma levels. Administering zopiclone on a full stomach also delays the onset of effect. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid large meals and take a tablet with a light meal if necessary. In addition, grapefruit juice should be avoided as it can change the way this medication is metabolised and alter concentrations in the bloodstream.

The duration of action is approximately 6 to 8 hours so this medication usually facilitates restful sleep without causing next-day residual effects like sleepiness. In patients aged 65 years or older, the bioavailability of this medication is higher. Plasma levels also remain higher for people in this age group. For this reason, half the adult dose, or 3.75 mg, is usually recommended, particularly at the beginning of treatment for elderly patients. Patients with liver or kidney problems are also advised to practise extra caution and take a lower dose.

Can I Take Two 7.5 Zopiclone Tablets?

The usual recommended adult dose is one tablet (7.5 mg) and patients are generally advised to avoid taking a second dose during the night. In clinical research, the most effective improvements in sleep have generally been associated with 3.75 mg and 7.5 mg doses of Zimovane. A higher zopiclone dose such as two 7.5 mg tablets, or 15 mg, can increase the risk of side effects.

A clinical study was conducted to investigate the use of different doses of Zimovane among patients with insomnia. Altogether, 60 patients participated in the study and they were randomly allocated to 1 of 6 groups. Each group was given the following treatments to take throughout the study:

  • Group 1: placebo which is an inactive substance
  • Group 2: flurazepam 30 mg (a sedative similar to diazepam)
  • Group 3: Zimovane 3.75 mg
  • Group 4: Zimovane 7.5 mg
  • Group 5: Zimovane 11.25 mg
  • Group 6: Zimovane 15 mg

The patients in the study were asked to complete a self-administered sleep questionnaire to determine results. Compared to placebo, Zopiclone 7.5 mg or higher doses significantly improved sleep induction and sleep maintenance.

In general, the researchers found that the largest increase in improvements in sleep was attained with 3.5 mg and 7.5 mg doses of Zimovane. However, there was some extra benefit that happened with the 11.25 mg dose. This medication was well tolerated at 3.75 mg and 7.5 mg doses. An increase in side effects happened with the 11.25 mg and 15 mg doses, revealing that overall 7.5 mg is the optimum dose for most people.

Never Mix Zopiclone and  Alcohol

Never Mix Zopiclone and Alcohol

Patients are advised to always avoid consuming alcohol with sleeping medication like Zimovane as this can cause adverse reactions which are generally unsafe. Combining this medication with alcohol can enhance the sedating effects of both the medicine and alcohol, increasing the risk of side effects.

Both Zimovane and alcohol suppress the central nervous system which can lead to unwanted effects like decreased breathing and reduced cognitive function. Drinking alcohol with Zimovane also increases the chance of rare side effects such as sleep-eating, sleep-walking, sleep-driving and other strange behaviour.

Since both alcohol and sleeping pills create a sedating effect, many people believe the combination may induce even better sleep. However, there is no truth in this myth as mixing alcohol with sleeping medication typically leads to poor sleep quality. At the beginning of the night, the combination of the two substances can make a person feel drowsy, allowing them to fall asleep easily.

However, even though a person may fall asleep faster, they are unlikely to achieve restful and restorative sleep. When zopiclone and alcohol are used simultaneously, the combined effect decreases brain-wave activity during sleep. As a result, a person is likely to feel unrested or fatigued upon awakening with low energy levels. For optimal benefits and to prevent these side effects, avoid alcohol when taking this medication.

Is Zopiclone Safe During Pregnancy

The use of this medicine is not recommended for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Taking this medication during pregnancy may cause harm to the developing baby as well as adverse effects in newborn babies. During the first trimester of pregnancy, various studies have provided evidence to suggest that there may be an increased chance of congenital malformations with the use of this medicine.

During the final weeks of pregnancy or during labour, taking therapeutic doses of hypnotic medications like Zimovane can lead to neonatal CNS depression. If this medication is used during the final trimester of pregnancy or during labour, negative effects are likely to happen. These adverse effects include decreased muscle tone, hypothermia and respiratory depression.

There is also evidence to suggest that taking sleeping pills such as zopiclone during pregnancy can raise the risk of giving birth prematurely (before 37 weeks). In addition, the baby may have a lower weight and withdrawal symptoms at birth. Zimovane may also pass into breast milk in small amounts so it advisable to avoid the use of this medication if you are breastfeeding.

Updated: 14th January 2021
Review Due: January 2022

Steve

ABOUT STEVE

Fueled with a passion to try and help people less fortunate than himself Steve immersed himself in the medical industry. By researching new and innovative medical advancements and regularly sharing important information on social media Steve intends to make a difference where it matters most, people's health. His wealth of knowledge and keen eye for detail will help keep our readers informed and contribute towards improved health.

Roger Durham – Feb 26, 2021
Hello Steve, Very informative and well written article. I was looking for some advice and information regarding Insomnia and suitable treatments for the condition. Your article answered all my questions and I have been able to correct my sleep wake cycle as a result. Thanks Roger Durham

Post Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Rate this article