For many sleep-deprived souls, the quest for some solid shut-eye seems as unattainable as absolute truth or a happy marriage. So they turn to sleep medicines like Zimovane to get relief for their insomnia symptoms. And they are spending billions.
Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015. That number is expected to spike to $52 billion by 2020, according to a market intelligence analyst in this Consumer Reports study.
People are also paying another sort of price for their sleeping pill reliance, the kind that results in dependence, adverse symptoms of withdrawal, and more.
Zimovane is part of a class of medications known as Z-drugs, which are drugs that are capable of inducing benzodiazepine-like effects. Zimovane is intended to treat the symptoms of insomnia.
However, Zimovane, the brand name for zopiclone, and Z-drug cohorts like zaleplon and zolpidem were introduced in the 1980s and were thought to be an improvement over benzodiazepines because they did not produce “next day sedation, dependence, and withdrawal syndrome” like benzos.
Zimovane and other brand name Z-drugs like Lunesta and Sonata are considered non-benzodiazepine hypnotics.
Like benzodiazepines, Z-drugs stimulate gamma-Aminobutyric acid or GABA receptors, which inhibits the central nervous system (CNS). This method of action produces sedation, allowing its users to get sleep. However, Zimovane and other Z-drugs differ from benzodiazepines because they only bind to select GABA receptors, driving sleep but not anti-anxiety (an effect benzos produce).
Zimovane is available as a tablet. The recommended dosage for adults is 5 to 7.5 milligrams (mg) at bedtime, according to Drugs.com. For older adults, that recommended amount is 3.75 mg at night, but that could be increased to five to 7.5 mg at a doctor’s discretion.
Like other zopiclone medications, Zimovane is only intended for short term use, typically two to four weeks.
When taken at recommended doses, zopiclone does not typically produce withdrawal effects. However, it is capable of producing many side effects.
Like other medications, Zimovane use comes with specific side effects. According to MedlinePlus.gov, side effects can include:
Zimovane and other Z-drugs are thought to be less toxic than benzodiazepines. When they are used longer than intended or in larger than normal doses, Zimovane can induce painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms once use stops.
Recreational use of this Z-drug occurs when a person intentionally takes heavy doses to amplify its sedating effects.
They may also abuse Zimovane with other substances like alcohol or other drugs. Once use abruptly stops, a recreational user will have a higher chance of experiencing debilitating physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Ironically enough, one of those symptoms of withdrawal is rebound insomnia, where a user will find it difficult to fall asleep than when they first started taking Zimovane.
Physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms include:
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Zimovane withdrawal generates symptoms that are similar to benzodiazepines. When these symptoms manifest, they arrive in immediate and late stages.
Early symptoms associated with Zimovane include:
The number of withdrawal symptoms that occur with Zimovane makes it dangerous to attempt a “cold turkey” detox on your own.
Medical detox is the safest, most effective process in ridding your body of the substance, its immediate effects, and withdrawal symptoms.
Detox is the first step in professional treatment.
During this process, a medical team will treat the withdrawal symptoms that arise. Detox typically lasts anywhere from three to seven days, depending on the severity of your case.
You will be assessed to determine your best treatment plan going forward.
For severe cases of Zimovane abuse, residential treatment may be considered. Cases where clients abuse Zimovane with alcohol or other drugs may also be recommended for this program. Residential treatment is a comprehensive protocol where clients live at the facility where they will receive care. Residential aims to address the root cause of the addiction.
Milder cases may be recommended for an outpatient program, which allows clients to receive comprehensive treatment on a part-time basis.
Once treatment is completed, clients can connect to a supportive recovery community that allows them to realize sustained and meaningful recovery.
Consumer Reports. (n.d.). Why Americans Can't Sleep. Retrieved from from https://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep/
Drugs.com. (n.d.). Zopiclone Advanced Patient Information. Retrieved from from https://www.drugs.com/cons/zopiclone.html
MedlinePlus.gov. (n.d.). Eszopiclone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Retrieved from from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605009.html
Medsafe. (n.d.). Dependence with Zopiclone. Retrieved from https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUarticles/3.htm
NHS. (n.d.). Retrieved from from from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/zopiclone/
The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5694420/