Zopiclone is a type of sleeping pill that can be taken for short-term treatment of severe insomnia.
It helps you fall asleep more quickly, and also helps stop you waking up during the night. It works by affecting a calming chemical in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Zopiclone comes as tablets. It also comes as a liquid for people who find it hard to swallow tablets, but your doctor will have to order this specially.
This medicine is only available on prescription.
Zopiclone takes around 1 hour to work.
It’s 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.
If zopiclone makes you feel sleepy in the daytime, do not drive a car, ride a bike or use machinery.
Side effects of zopiclone
Like all medicines, zopiclone can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.
Common side effects
These common side effects of zopiclone happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them:
A bitter or metallic taste in your mouth or a dry mouth
Feeling sleepy or tired the next day
Speak to a doctor or pharmacist if the advice on how to cope does not help and a side effect is still bothering you or does not go away.
Serious side effects
It happens rarely, but some people have serious side effects when taking zopiclone.
Call your doctor or contact 111 as soon as possible if you:
- get a poor memory (amnesia)
- see or hear things that are not real (hallucinations)
- fall over, especially if you’re over 65 years of age
- think things that are not true (delusions)
- feel low or sad (have depression)
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to zopiclone.