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Generic Name: Zopiclone

Brand Names: Zimovane, Imovane, ACT Zopiclone

Drug Class: GABA agonist, Hypnotic, Anxiolytic

Similar Class Drugs: Eszopiclone, Zaleplon

Available Dosage forms: Oral tablet, liquid

Zopiclone: Uses, Side effects. Zimovane, Imovane, ACT Zopiclone
Courtesy: Unsplash

What is Zopiclone?

Zopiclone is a sedative used as a short-term treatment for insomnia. It reduces the onset of sleep and prolongs sleep time. Zopiclone and drugs with similar pharmacological properties are classified as Z drugs.

Zopiclone is a cyclopyrrolone and has a chemical structure different from classic hypnotics (Benzodiapenes and Barbiturates). However, the mechanism of action is similar to that of Benzodiazepines. The GABA neurotransmitter in the brain inhibits neuronal excitability and produces a calming effect.

A lack of inhibitory action of GABA causes neuronal hyperexcitability and resultant symptoms of insomnia and anxiety. Zopiclone binds to the same sites on GABA receptors that Benzodiazepines attach to. It stimulates the GABA receptors and enhances GABA concentration. Anxiolytic and sedative effects ensue after inhibition by GABA. Another cyclopyrrolone, Eszopiclone was found to be more effective in prolonging sleep time when compared to Zopiclone.2


How to use Zopiclone?

– The oral tablet and liquid are available on prescription

– Take the medicine only if you can set aside at least 8 hours of sleep

– The medicine should be taken just before bedtime

– Do not take the drug with alcohol or other drugs that cause sedation

– Avoid driving until the sedative effects have not worn out

– Let your doctor know about any medical or psychiatric condition, pregnancy, drug or alcohol use history.


What are the side effects of Zopiclone?

Sleeping-inducing drugs (Benzodiazepines) are known to have a high potential to induce dependence. Several instances related to drug abuse with Benzodiazepines have also been reported. A minority of patients experienced rebound insomnia after discontinuation of Zopiclone.

Studies comparing the drug dependency of Benzodiazepines with Z drugs remain inconclusive. However, it is critical to remain cautious while taking hypnotics. Patients considering their use should take them only after a prescription by a healthcare professional.1

Common side effects of Zopiclone include:

– Headache2

– Dizziness

– Somnolence

– Dyspepsia

– Nausea

– Nervousness

– Depression

– Dry mouth

– Unpleasant taste

– Viral infection

Rare but possible adverse effects:

– Respiratory tract infections

– Withdrawal symptoms

– Sexual impairment

– Skin rash

– Dependence

– Drug abuse


Who should not use Zopiclone?

– Those with a history of psychiatric disorders – depression, suicidal behavior

– Those with a history of drug addiction or alcohol use disorder

– Pregnant and breastfeeding women

– Women planning for pregnancy

– Those having therapy with drugs that might interact with Zopiclone



  1. Cimolai N. Zopiclone: is it a pharmacologic agent for abuse?Can Fam Physician. 2007;53(12):2124-2129.
  2. Pinto LR Jr, Bittencourt LR, Treptow EC, Braga LR, Tufik S. Eszopiclone versus Zopiclone in the treatment of insomnia. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2016 Jan;71(1):5-9. doi: 10.6061/clinics/2016(01)02. PMID: 26872077; PMCID: PMC4732384.

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Danielle Aubin (she/her), Online Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, Roseville, CA

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