Naomi Carr
Dr. David Miles
Written by Naomi Carr on 21 March 2024
Medically reviewed by Dr. David Miles on 03 July 2024

Zopiclone is a sedative-hypnotic medication used as a short-term treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia. It can cause several side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and headaches, and may lead to dependence and addiction if taken for a prolonged period. Always take zopiclone exactly as directed by the prescribing doctor to prevent adverse effects.


What is zopiclone?

Zopiclone is a hypnotic-sedative medication, also known as a minor tranquilizer or sleeping pill. It is one of the medications referred to as the ‘Z’ drugs because of their names, including zolpidem (Ambien) and zaleplon (Sonata).

Zopiclone is a GABA receptor agonist. It is not a benzodiazepine, although it has a similar sedating action and side effect profile.

Zopiclone is a Schedule IV controlled substance and is not available for prescription in the US, although it is available in other countries worldwide. Eszopiclone is available in the US, which is a stereoisomer of zopiclone, with a very similar chemical profile.

Zopiclone brand names

Although it is not available in the US, several brand-name versions of zopiclone are available around the world, including:

  • Imovane
  • Zimovane
  • Imoclone
  • Imrest
  • Lyzop
  • Ziclone
  • Zolinox
  • Zopicon
  • Zopitran
  • Zolium

What is zopiclone used for?

Zopiclone is used to treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia. It can help individuals fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer, and wake up less often. It is recommended for short-term use of 7-14 days and should not be used for longer than four weeks.

Zopiclone dosage

A typical dose of zopiclone is 7.5mg per day. This should be taken just before bedtime, as the medication takes around one hour to take effect.

Older adults or individuals with a risk of adverse effects might be prescribed a reduced dose of 3.75mg per day.

Typically, zopiclone is available as a tablet, although liquid solutions are also available.

Zopiclone side effects

It is common when taking a new medication to experience some side effects. These are likely to be mild and will be alleviated without the need for professional intervention. However, if side effects persist or become concerning, consult a doctor immediately.

Common side effects of zopiclone include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Nightmares
  • Confusion
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Blurry vision
  • Mild cognitive impairments

In some cases, severe side effects can occur. In the event of any of the following side effects, contact a doctor immediately:

  • Amnesia, severe memory loss
  • Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions
  • Extreme dizziness or falling
  • Extreme changes in mood or behavior, such as severely low mood, anxiety, or aggression
  • Rash or hives
  • Swelling of the face or mouth
  • Trouble breathing
  • Extreme muscle weakness
  • Trouble with speech
  • Sleepwalking
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness in the hands or feet
  • Physical dependence

Zopiclone warnings

Dependence and abuse

Zopiclone use can lead to dependence, abuse, and addiction, particularly if taken for a prolonged period. It is important to take zopiclone exactly as prescribed and for no longer than recommended, to prevent this risk. Do not take zopiclone for longer than four weeks.

If dependence develops, withdrawal symptoms can occur when stopping zopiclone use, which can include anxiety, shaking, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and seizures.


Zopiclone can cause unusual behavior, such as sleepwalking or completing activities or actions while not fully awake and not remembering them in the morning. This can lead to an increased risk of accidental harm.


Zopiclone can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and sedation, so it is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery while using the medication, or first thing in the morning following a dose.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Taking zopiclone while pregnant or breastfeeding may cause an increased risk of harm to the fetus or infant. It is recommended to discuss with a doctor before taking zopiclone while pregnant or breastfeeding to understand the potential risks and benefits and discuss other options to make an informed treatment decision.

Dosing and administration

It is recommended to take zopiclone just before going to bed and to ensure that you can remain in bed for the following 7-8 hours, to prevent accidental harm or adverse effects.

If you forget to take a dose of zopiclone, do not take a double dose at the next dosage time. Skip the missed dose and take the prescribed amount. If you remember your missed dose shortly after the prescribed time, it can be safe to take it, as long as you can remain in bed for at least seven hours from that time.

Who should not take zopiclone?

Some people may not be able to safely take zopiclone or may require a reduced dosage or close monitoring during treatment. This can include individuals who:

  • Have a history of addiction or drug abuse
  • Are allergic to the contents of the medication
  • Have severe muscle weakness
  • Have lung or respiratory problems, including asthma or sleep apnea
  • Have severe liver or kidney problems
  • Have experienced sleepwalking or other unusual behaviors when previously taking zopiclone 
  • Have a history of mental health issues that might be affected or worsened by zopiclone, such as suicidal ideation
  • Are under 18 years old
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Are taking an opioid medication
  • Have recently consumed alcohol

Zopiclone drug interactions

Zopiclone may interact with other substances and medications, causing a reduced effect of the medication or an increased risk of adverse effects. Zopiclone may interact with the following medication classes: antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, other sedatives or tranquilizers, antihistamines, analgesics, opioids, HIV medication, anesthetics, some antibiotics, antifungals, and St John’s wort.

Taking zopiclone with another sedating medication, such as central nervous system (CNS) depressants like opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, may cause an increased risk of CNS depressant effects. This can include excessive drowsiness, breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness.

Always discuss your medications, prescribed or over the counter, with your doctor before starting a new treatment. 

Zopiclone overdose

Zopiclone can cause dangerous effects if taken in large doses. Never take more than the prescribed amount. Signs of a zopiclone overdose can include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness

In the event of a zopiclone overdose, call 911 immediately.

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  2. Wadworth, A.N., & McTavish, D. (1993). Zopiclone. A Review of its Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Efficacy as an Hypnotic. Drugs & Aging, 3(5), 441–459. Retrieved from
  3. Drugs.com. (Updated 2023). Zopiclone. Retrieved from
  4. Drug Bank Online. (Updated 2024). Zopiclone. Retrieved from
  5. National Health Service. (Reviewed 2022). Zopiclone. NHS. Retrieved from
  6. Sanofi-Aventis South Africa (Pty) Ltd. (Revised 2020). Patient Information Leaflet Imovane Tablets Zopiclone. SAHPRA. Retrieved from

Activity History - Last updated: 03 July 2024, Published date:


David is a seasoned Pharmacist, natural medicines expert, medical reviewer, and pastor. Earning his Doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina, David received clinical training at several major hospital systems and has worked for various pharmacy chains over the years. His focus and passion has always been taking care of his patients by getting accurate information and thorough education to those who need it most. His motto: "Good Information = Good Outcomes".

Activity History - Medically Reviewed on 20 March 2024 and last checked on 03 July 2024

Medically reviewed by
Dr. David Miles


Dr. David Miles


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