Zopiclone is a medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. It is commonly prescribed to treat insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning. Zopiclone is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic agent that works by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that slows down the activity of the central nervous system (CNS).
Zopiclone is available in tablet form and is typically taken by mouth shortly before bedtime. The usual starting dose for adults is 7.5 mg, although the dosage may be adjusted depending on individual needs and response. It is recommended that Zopiclone be taken for a short period of time, usually no more than 2-4 weeks, as prolonged use may lead to dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.
The onset of action of Zopiclone is relatively rapid, with the maximum effect usually occurring within 1-2 hours after administration. The duration of action is also relatively short, typically lasting 6-8 hours. Patients should ensure that they have at least 8 hours available for sleep before taking Zopiclone, as its effects can impair the ability to perform tasks that require mental alertness and physical coordination.
Zopiclone is generally well-tolerated by most patients. Common side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, and metallic taste. Less common side effects may include gastrointestinal disturbances, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as allergic reactions, including skin rash and difficulty breathing.
Patients should not take Zopiclone if they have a history of allergies to the medication or any of its ingredients, have severe respiratory insufficiency, sleep apnea syndrome, or severe liver insufficiency. Zopiclone should also be used with caution in patients with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, as well as in elderly patients and those with renal impairment.
Zopiclone should not be taken with alcohol or other CNS depressants, as this can increase the risk of respiratory depression, coma, and death. Patients should also avoid driving or operating machinery until they know how Zopiclone affects them.
In conclusion, Zopiclone is a medication that can be effective in treating insomnia, although its use should be limited to short periods of time and monitored carefully by a healthcare provider. Patients should be aware of the potential side effects.