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Does anyone know how Zopiclone(zimovane/imovane) side effects work?

Discussion in 'Sleep Disturbance' started by OverTheHills, May 31, 2018.

  1. OverTheHills

    OverTheHills Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just to be clear, my question is not about the withdrawal effects, or effects of taking it for too long a period, too high a dose or with other things.

    I had taken this drug a few years previously without problems, but when I took some a few months back (3.75mg 2 or 3 times a week) I got mood disturbances which I had never had before and became quite ill. it was difficult to work out what was going on as I felt very well the day after taking it and then awful (depressed, anxious, twitching, POTsy etc) for a couple of days after that.

    The Wikipedia article is too hard for me to understand in my current foggy state.

    Can any of you science brains help?
     
  2. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Hi @OverTheHills!

    I can't help much with the specifics, but wanted to say one thing that might be useful: before I took zopiclone, I did a fair bit of research, looked a lot at primary literature. The most consistent downside of the drug is tolerance - refractoriness for the first few nights off the drug (harder to get to sleep than before the zopiclone).

    Then a bit later, I read the wikipedia article. I thought the article was not that neutral, and seemed to have interpreted some of the studies I reviewed more negatively than is warranted. If you look at the talk page, you'll see that others have commented that it presents perhaps an overly negative view of the side effects of the drug.

    The refractoriness thing I've found to be true. I've found that I've slept more poorly the first 1-2 nights after going off it than before I went on it. Its best to taper off if you've been using it for a while, or substitute something else for those first few nights - phenergan perhaps? Things go back to normal after that.

    The only side effect I've ever had from the drug is that if I've taken it, I occasionally can't recall the next morning if I got up to the bathroom in the night. One time my other half said I talked to him in the night, but I had no recollection. This only happens in the night, so is not a huge problem.

    Sorry I can't help more.

    How was you sleep in the nights preceding those side effects? Could these side effects be the effects of a poor night's sleep?
     
  3. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  4. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't know what scientific explanations are offered in the literature but I can confirm the existence of the sort of problem you describe. The only time I took zopiclone after perhaps two doses I felt seriously dysphoric, anxious, agitated, irrational and under the impression that I was having a stroke. Apparently this is more common in older people. I t was certainly extremely unpleasant until a fiend pointed out the likely cause - which allowed me to see my symptoms for what they were. I have never had sensations like that before or since.
     
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  5. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Never new fiends were so helpful ;)
    Sorry, couldn't resist.
     
  6. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    New fiends are always helpful. It's the old ones that are the problem.
     
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  7. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  8. James Morris-Lent

    James Morris-Lent Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think I can help much with the science other than to say that all sorts of weirdness can happen anytime a drug is modulating neurotransmission. One question would be if you started any medication or supplement prior to your bad reaction that hinders metabolism of the Zopiclone. Or something else that affects brain chemistry.

    I will share a similar story:
    I took ambien for about 3 years until February. No side effects at all, same dose still fairly effective. Up to that point I was functioning at ~50%, so really well for our condition. Over the course of a month or so I was able to do less and less, getting to the point that I would wake up, make breakfast, and look at the clock to see how long it would be until I could go back to bed - my muscles just had no juice, I always felt extremely drowsy. I eventually figured out it was the ambien, stopped cold turkey, and things were back to 'normal' in a week (negligible withdrawal symptoms). I also started sleeping much better o_O

    So these reactions can just seemingly come out of the blue. It's a bummer to lose a thing which basically guarantees that you'll sleep well starting at the time you wish. :( But your brain will probably be better off? ;)
     
  9. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't know if this helps....

    I have an issue with drugs that supposedly make you sleepy. They wake me up and I also seem very sensitive to hangover and side effects, plus even worse sleep of course.

    I also had bother with SSRIs and amitryptiline - severe side effects.

    One thing I noticed when trying out drugs is that I become increasingly sensitive to them over time. So if I try a drug at it's absolute lowest dose and react to it, the next time I try it, the reaction will be stronger and occur more quickly. Even if I leave it for a few weeks.
     
  10. Manganus

    Manganus Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've come to the conclusion that the response to anxiolytics (sleeping pills) seems to be highly individual. And probably much more so among us, than among people of better health.

    I've myself used Zopiclone, but I don't like the substance much: I may get sleep. But not always, and not for long.
    Nevertheless, if I have nothing else, I take some.

    I've also (when working night shifts in health care) given Zopiclone to lots of patients. Most of them slept well. If they didn't, then the medicine was typically exchanged for something else. And we in the staff were quite observant on whether sleeping pills worked or not. Other patients could tell in the evening, whether they wanted a pill that night, or not.

    If I were you, I think I would have tried to get a prescription for some other kind of sleeping pills.

    Finally, maybe I should add that I've had bothersome depressive problems and anxiety. But I haven't seen any connection between that and Zopiclone. I can't rule it out - definitely not! The only thing I am sure of is that I never noticed any.
     
  11. OverTheHills

    OverTheHills Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well this is very interesting indeed, thanks for all your replies chaps!

    Will write more detailed replies later (unlike Gingergirrl I run out of steam quickly and am seldom sharp enough to post) but @Jonathan Edwards and @Invisible Woman it sounds like my experience is most similar to yours.

    Like IW I get bad or very bad side effects with tricyclic antidepressants, slow release melatonin, etc which I've tried at low doses before in my very long quest to get better sleep (at last I found for me LDN really improves my sleep quality). And like her I found previously with zopiclone that although it worked brilliantly at first I became more and more sensitive to it over time, until I couldn't take it at all - quite the reverse of developing tolerance. Thats why I hadn't taken it for years. I am also coming to the conclusion that I need to steer clear of anything that messes with my neurotransmitters. I didnt realise zopiclone was in that category.

    My symptoms sound fairly similar to JE although I didn't feel like I was having a stroke and unlike him, it was difficult for me to tie zopiclone down as the culprit, because
    • I had taken them before without (this sort of) problems
    • It was hard to spot the pattern because I had one day after of feeling very good (positive etc, not just the effects of having had a good nights sleep) after taking a small dose, followed by a couple of days of feeling dreadful.... and I wasnt on good analytic form when anxious, depressed, not sleeping, bad gut problems and worsening ME just from the energy consumption
    • I had just split up from long term partner and moved back to the UK, completely alone. So I was vulnerable, in practice with very little support from friends or family, and no doctor I could trust. It was plausible that I would be anxious and depressed (something I have no history of). Given what was happening to Bob at that time, I didn't want to take the risk of being honest with the doctor about mental health symptoms.
    In the end I had to go back to NZ where at least I had support (medical and otherwise) and less pressure, at huge cost financial and energy wise.

    Once I twigged that the Zopiclones might be the source of the problem I stopped them. Over the last couple of months the anxiety disappeared quickly, my depression is improved more gradually (it may be gone now even though getting back to England is the thing I want most in the world, apart from a cure for ME)and the gut trend is harder to be sure about.

    Consulted my GP and Dr Vallings when I first got back, neither of them thought that Zopiclone were likely to be the problem. They suggested Citalopram. I have not taken any, and dont imagine I ever will.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  12. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just an aside - slow release melatonin is the only one that helps me a bit. I can still sometimes find myself wide awake in the middle of the night, though. Everything else makes it worse.

    Sounds like you were going through a really tough time @oldtimer, hard enough without additional side effects. :hug:
     
  13. OverTheHills

    OverTheHills Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A dose of slow release melatonin = nightmares so bad I wake the entire house with my screaming. I don't get nightmares otherwise and it is on the list of known side effects. Go figure.

    Thanks for the hugs. I was lucky to get out alive to be honest.
     
  14. MishaParker9456

    MishaParker9456 New Member

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    Hi Everyone,


    I am about 4 months late to this discussion however I stumbled across this community by accident while researching possible zopiclone withdrawal symptoms. I thought I was losing my marbles. Firstly because my Dr. took me off lorazepam due to its "highly" addictive properties and prescribed me zopiclone, because it was said to be less addictive. WELLLL.. ok some background, I have been suffering from poor sleep cycles for YEARS, I use to be so against medication especially for something my body was just supposed to do properly, anyway I reached a breaking point and just NEEDED a good night or few night sleep before I cracked.. So I go to the Dr. and they readily prescribe me a 30 day bottle of lorazepam with 3 refills.. said it was for anxiety mainly but it would help me relax into sleep.. I was in love, took it like clockwork for about a month, I forgot to get the refill a few days in a row and I started noticing strange feelings in my body, and mind like I was freaking out on the inside though. I look up side effects and I had just about all of them. It freaked me out so I never refilled the lorazepam, I just suffered through the withdrawal phase. Sleep inconsistency returned however and I went bk to the Dr. to see if they could suggest something milder and I was given this zopiclone. Weary from my previous meds I took half of a pill, nothing, no sleep or sleepiness.. So I thought this stuff is useless. Shelfed it until I had a desperate night, I took a whole pill, wowow ok great, had a straight 8 hours of blissful SLEEP.. I didn't take one the next night and I felt find the next day.. none of that weird withdrawal effects of the other stuff.. Hummm.. Day 3 is when the withdrawals hit and they hit HARD.. I felt like I was going to crawl out of my own skin.. now I wasn't sure what was going on since I had taken this stuff 3 nights ago, I felt like it’s no way it can be that! But I tested it out again, took one and I calmed down completely, systems of withdrawal disappeared, again no pill the next day, but by day 2 without they symptoms hit.. I can't believe I was told this stuff is NOT addictive.. So I think I am going to have to wean myself off of them. As it stands I don't like the withdrawal effects so cold turkey is NOT an option, this is worse than the lorazepam withdrawal, something about this drug makes you feel very off kilter when you don't have enough in your system. I am currently experiencing daytime interdose anxiety.

    Anyways thanks for sharing this is really helpful knowing that other ppl are experiencing what you really can't put into words.. My husband looks at me like um.. ok. LOL.
     
  15. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sorry to hear you were misled @MishaParker9456 , I was always given 7 tablets at most and warned about the addictive nature of zopiclone.

    Your feeling if wanting to crawl out of your skin sounds to me like Akathesia. I would talk to your doctor about this making sure to mention Akathesia if you feel it represents your symptoms. I don't think old turkey is a very good idea for anyone feeling these symptoms, I think a supported taper is probably the best way to go (although I have no scientific qualifications). Your doctor might suggest a beta blocker to help with the anxiety and racing heart symptoms.

    https://rxisk.org/ might be a useful source of information for you, and there is the ability to produce a report to show people that it is not just your opinion, but backed by science. Sounds like your husband might benefit from this information too.

    I hope you know that you are not crazy or are alone. :hug:
     
  16. Milo

    Milo Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For me it’s quite simple.

    I need 2.5 tablets of 7.5 mg per tablet to sleep each night. It’s been like that for a few years now. Going back down to 2 tablets means that my sleep is not as long and not as effective. Thankfully my GP prescribe this for me.

    If for any reason I skip a dose) (like I forgot to take my pills that night :banghead: ) then i simply don’t sleep, and on really ‘cloudy days’ I am not aware I didn’t take my pills. So no pills= no sleep.

    After all these years I haven’t noticed much side effect other than the horrible after taste (I usually eat something afterwards to counteract that. imovane for me predates the onset of my ME. i was doing rotating shift work and there were times when i didn’t get enough sleep when i really needed to so I was prescribed it, and told they were not addictive.

    i later found out that the doctors themselves seems to have been duped into believing it was not addictive.

    - ok, gotta go to sleep now... :asleep::asleep: sweet dreams! :thumbup:
     
  17. OverTheHills

    OverTheHills Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Good luck with your tapering off @MishaParker9456 . I am glad to say ALL my symptoms went within a few weeks of stopping zopiclone.
     
  18. Daisy

    Daisy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Interesting discussion.

    I use zopiclone to initiate sleep, only a low dose between half and three quarters of a 3.75 mg. tablet. Occasionally I push the boat out and take a whole tablet when I am particularly tired. It doesn't necessarily improve my sleep throughout the night though and a higher dose just leaves me feeling worse the next morning.

    I tend to wake up during the night often at around 3 a.m.. I find that CBD is helpful for getting me back to sleep, although it is not so helpful in initiating sleep when I first go to bed.

    I've been taking zopiclone for many years now and don't seem to have any side effects (so far) apart from muzzyness the next day if I take a whole tablet. Not had any problems getting it on repeat prescription.

    As has been said responses are highly individual.
     
  19. MishaParker9456

    MishaParker9456 New Member

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    Thank you so much for this information and the support (hugs).
     
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