Zopiclone is used to help people with insomnia (inability to sleep). Although not a benzodiazepine (a type of tranquilliser) it acts on the same areas of the brain as this drug, hence its use in similar ways - for its calming effects. Illicit users sometimes take them with other drugs, such as tranquillisers and heroin. This is a practice that can cause people to pass out and overdose if taken in large doses. Like all drugs with calming effects, it can get over-used (see dependency), with or without a prescription from the doctor.
Before Using This Medicine
Sleep medicines may cause a special type of memory loss or "amnesia". When this occurs, a person does not remember what has happened during the several hours between use of the medicine and the time when its effects wear off. This is usually not a problem since most people fall asleep after taking the medicine. In most instances, memory problems can be avoided by taking zopiclone only when you are able to get a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours) before you need to be active again. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you are having memory problems.
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make.
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor . Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. If too much is taken, it may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence).
Do not take this medicine when your schedule does not permit you to get a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours) . If you must wake up before this, you may continue to feel drowsy and may experience memory problems, because the effects of the medicine have not had time to wear off.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
If you think you need to take zopiclone for more than 7 to 10 days, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Insomnia that lasts longer than this may be a sign of another medical problem.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that cause drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine .
This medicine may cause some people, especially older persons, to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy or unsteady, or less alert than they are normally. Even though zopiclone is taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Make sure you know how you react to zopiclone before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy, or are not alert or able to see well .
If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are taking zopiclone, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people taking this medicine are like those seen in people who drink alcohol and then act in a manner that is not normal. Other changes may be more unusual and extreme, such as confusion, worsening of depression, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), suicidal thoughts, and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability.
If you will be taking zopiclone for a long time, do not stop taking it without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping completely. Stopping this medicine suddenly may cause withdrawal side effects.
After taking zopiclone for insomnia, you may have difficulty sleeping (rebound insomnia) for the first few nights after you stop taking it.
If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of this medicine, get emergency help at once . Taking an overdose of zopiclone or taking alcohol or other CNS depressants with zopiclone may lead to breathing problems and unconsciousness. Some signs of an overdose are clumsiness or unsteadiness, mental or mood changes, severe drowsiness, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
confusion--more common in older adults; clumsiness or unsteadiness--more common in older adults; daytime anxiety and/or restlessness; difficulty with coordination--more common in older adults; mood or mental changes
drowsiness (severe); shortness of breath; difficult or labored breathing; tightness in chest; wheezing; skin rash; aggressiveness; behavior changes
Memory problems--more common in older patients; behavior or mental changes
Symptoms of Overdose
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur
Clumsiness; unsteadiness; mental or mood changes; drowsiness (severe); unusual tiredness or weakness; sluggishness; reduced physical activity; unusual sleepiness; loss of consciousness
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.
Dizziness; Dryness of mouth; heartburn; impaired vision; increased appetite; indigestion; loss of appetite--more common in older adults; stomach upset; difficulty speaking; constipation; decreased muscle tone; weight loss
Agitation--more common in older adults; chills; fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat--more common in older adults; feeling of heaviness of arms and legs; increase in the amount of saliva--more common in older adults; increased sweating--more common in older adults; tingling, burning or prickly sensation; trembling and shaking of fingers, hands, arms, feet, or legs--more common in older adults; vomiting--more common in older adults
After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. During this time check with your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:
Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain; nausea; vomiting; more difficulty in sleeping than before treatment; muscle cramps or discomfort; anxiety; nervousness; irritability; restlessness; increased sweating; tremors; seizures
Zopiclone may cause you to have a coated tongue, bad breath, or a bitter taste. These effects are to be expected when you are taking this medicine.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
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