Warned to come off zopiclone.

Posted , 9 users are following.

I have been taking Zopiclone 3.75mg for 3 months, to help cope with anxiety/insomnia. Last week my GP prewarned me that my latest prescription would be my last as I had been on them for too long. Instead he gave me a presciption for Mirtazapine 15mg. At first I was concerned about this, but to be honest I was actually feeling worse for taking Zopiclone, culminating in vertigo attacks, daytime withdrawal symptoms and worsening sleep.So last thursday, after MUCH deliberation, I decided to go cold turkey with the Zopiclone and switch to Mirtazapine 7.5 mg. First night I had hardly any sleep at all, but just before dawn I was woken up by a bad dream. I had actually fallen asleep, if only for a short while. Felt ill next day, probably due to withdrawal and went to bed for night 2 a bit apprehensive. I slept better, not much, I awoke several times then fell asleep again, but at least the sleep was Zopiclone free! Night 3 was again an improvement and night 4 better sleep again. I feel better during the day now, my vertigo seems to have gone and I have slighly less anxiety but its early days. I saw my GP this morning and actually thanked him for forcing my hand on this. He has told me to continue Mirtazapine 7.5mg for the time being along with CBT and relaxation therapy. Positive thoughts and breathing exercises have also helped with the anxiety ( boosts seratonin levels apparently). I hope this gives some encouragement to people trying to come off this nasty drug.

1 like, 26 replies

26 Replies

  • Posted

    Well done. The first three days were the hardest for me too. I used Diazepam for the crossover which meant remarkably well and stopped taking that after a weeks taper. I have no faith in doctors who hand out such addictive junk as Zopiclone so had to go through this and find an answer myself. I based the method on the fact that I was/am addicted to Zopiclone but not Diazepam so the later would be far easier to give up which it was.


    • Posted

      This is the first time that I have seen this discussion about Zopiclone. THANK YOU for all your posts... I think you have saved my life! I have taken Zopiclone every day for 14 years and I have tried many times to stop unsuccessfully. Now I have a plan...thanks to you! I hope my doctor will prescribe Diazepam...
  • Posted

    PS you might find that 5HTP helps boost Serotonin levels. I take it daily.

  • Posted

    Thanks Dave,

    I hope I can make 26 days. My GP wont prescibe Diazepam if there is an alternative so i guess my withdrawal will be harder. To be fair to him, after my first month on Zopiclone he didn't want to give me any more but I was so low back then that I could not have gone without any sleep. It really is horribly addictive stuff. How long where you on it? What do you take now? I will check out 5HTP, as long as it doesn't react with Mirtazapine. Need to be careful about seratonin syndrome mixing different drugs. Did your GP prescribe Diazapam?

    • Posted

      I ll have to stop also since they do not mzke me sleep anymore. I fall asleep around 8 pm so thats too early so i wake up at 2h30 am and i cant fall back asleep. Two nights on 7.5mg and nothing works now. I listen to relaxation audio s and after i get up. At around 4am. Tonight i wont use anything. I ll go cold turkey till after a few days i ll settle for any number of sleeping hours i have with mirtazepine and take it from there. I am facing a wall.
  • Posted

    The 5HTP is basically manure for the brains Serotonin. I can't see any bad effects whatsoever and it certainly isn't addictive. Maybe it's even a placebo?

    I was on the Zopiclone for around 25 years! It was prescribed following a sibling suicide when I was having trouble sleeping. If I knew what I know now I wouldn't have touched the Zopiclone with a barge pole. The doctor told me that it was a new drug and totally non addictive.

    At times I have felt too bad on it to get out of bed for days and I'd asked many times for help to stop the Zopiclone but answer came there none except more and different pills to mix with the Zopiclone. I was told - and I doubt this very much - that if I stopped taking the Zopiclone cold turkey that I would suffer fits. This turned out to be a load of old cobblers but then it fits in with doctors not having a clue what the stuff does or how it works.

    I then spent a few weeks in hospital under a psychiatrist where I was given yep loads more pills.

    What really made me decide to have one almighty go at giving up was that I have two young grand children and half the time they came round I couldn't do anything with them since I felt too rough. They deserved better than that for a grand dad so I took the plunge.

    So here I am 26 days down the line from my decision and feeling really good. Sleep patterns have vastly improved to the point of what I consider almost normal. My appetite has also vastly improved and I am eating properly for the first time in years.

    All I have now is a couple - and I do mean a couple - of beers of an evening.

    I did see if it was possible to sue the NHS over what has happened as even if it wasn't known then how dangerous Zopiclone is then it is certainly known now yet it is still handed out like sweets to victims. I was told that chances of successfully suing on that basis was unlikely to succeed though.


  • Posted

    Wow Dave thats quite a story! A fantastic achievement after so long on the poison. Just goes to show what you can do with determination. Looks like the diazapam method works well if you can get a GP to prescibe it. How long did it take you to come off the Zop? Did you get much in the way of withdrawal symptoms? I am sure more information would be inspiring for other sufferers.Thanks.
  • Posted

    I stopped cold turkey 26 days ago by taking 10mg of Diazepam (Valium) the first night instead of the Zopiclone. My main worry was that if I never slept at all I knew I would be crippled the next day and unable to function.

    I figured that 10mg of Diazepam would knock me out and that is what happened. I told my doctor what I was doing and all he said was that I was jumping out of the frying pan into the fire by taking Diazepam instead of Zopiclone but I said we'll see and pointed out that he didn't have any better ideas so he wrote the prescription for the Diazepam.

    I had nothing to lose and was almost crying with it all of a night when the missus would go to bed and I'd walk around the house dropping Zopiclone hoping that if I took enough I might drop off for a few hours but as I say I knew full well how crappy I would feel from the Zopiclone effects next day. At times my thoughts got very dark indeed and I didn't want to go on like this any more.

    I tapered off the Diazepam over just a week. This surprised me a bit but I didn't want to get addicted to the Diazepam so went for it taking 10mg the first day (night) and going down to 1mg over the space of a a week then stopped the Diazepam altogether with no withdrawals at all from the Diazepam.

    Withdrawal symptoms for the Zopiclone were also surprisingly easy which I put down to the Diazepam keeping the withdrawals from the Zopiclone under control. I had what I thought was a bit of a cold from day 2 until day 4 but that went and after 3 days free of the junk I knew I was in with a good chance of beating it.

    About a week ago I took the plunge and flushed every Zopiclone that I had left down the toilet. I'd been keeping them 'for an emergency' but decided that it was putting temptation in my way by keeping them so down the pan they went.

    What I do find a bit strange is why I am sleeping so much better without the Zopiclone as the whole idea of doctors prescribing it in the first place is to make the patient sleep which they don't.


  • Posted

    Hi Sunlover and Dave--Sunlover, you are doing great! I absolutely have faith, based on experience, in CBT, that if you can keep it up and practice it, it's quite uplifting and the results are more lasting (internalized) the longer you're at it. It's not that it puts you to sleep, but it makes it easier to not stress yourself out about being asleep or not being asleep, and for me, this has had the result that the time i lay in bed awake is restful and refreshing, and i will tend to fall asleep more easily most of the time.

    Dave--i'm glad to hear an update on your transition back to the normal world.

  • Posted

    Hi Dave, I've been on zimovane for 25 years but have been taking 3x7.5mg for years and sometimes more when I self medicate when I'm desperate to try to get a sleep. I've been afraid to stop cold turkey as I had read you could get seizures. I'm interested in what your dosage was for the 25 years you were on it. I've read a special prog that exchanges diazepam for zimovane at equivalent doses, the idea being that it is an easier drug to reduce as it comes in small doses.

    Well done on being 26 days Zimovane free! Look forward to hearing the dose you were on to help me decide if I should just go cold turkey and not worry about all the withdrawal symptons they worn you about.

  • Posted

    Hi Sunlover, Dave, Jaw & kathleen

    I always so appreciate everyone reaching out and telling their story with the zops . It certainly helps to re-enforce my belief to stay away from that drug forever ! Sunlover , keep your dr. He seems to be a good one and is doing good for you . Dave , I will be buying some 5HTP and start taking that instead of the melatonin that I've been taking . Thanks for the suggestion and it warmed my heart that you'd want to be a healthier grandpa!!

    I just don't like the idea of taking something that is synthetic and besides I don't feel like it is effective much any more.(melatonin) I find that it takes me a while to fall asleep , then I sleep for 3 or 4 hrs , wake up for a few hrs, then sleep for a few more. Thank goodness I'm retired !

    24 Days Zoplicone Free and so proud !!

  • Posted

    Hi Kathleen. Dosage varied. It went from 1/4 of a 3.75mg to 10mg at a whim. Effects varied too, sometimes 1/4 of a 3.75 would knock me over and next time 10mg might have no effect at all. Sometimes I just lost count.

    I had a rough last two nights due to a slight cold not letting me sleep and was very glad there were no Zopiclone here due to them all being flushed or I might have been too tempted. I found some Valerian which I dropped at 4am but looking at the expiry date on them today it was in 2002 so maybe that is why they didn't work? Anyway slung them down the bog too.


  • Posted

    My daughter got off zolpidem last year. Since then when she occasionally has trouble sleeping, she takes Benadryl or one that in the States has the brand name Unisom, the ingredients include two antihistamines, diphenhydramine and doxylamine. It's the antihistamines that can make people sleepy, though while Bendadryl is marketed for allergy, Unisom is marketed as a sleep aid, they are over the counter, no prescription, and not addictive. Probably if you take them every day, they will soon lose their effect, but in a pinch, like during a cold, it might help. It works for my daughter, who had developed a tolerance on zolpidem and was increasing her dose which led her to quit, not without some difficulty, tapering over a couple of months. I'm really happy for her and hope i can follow her example. I have already bought some Unisom for when that happens, but i know as long as i'm on the meds, things like anti-histamines aren't going to work for me.
  • Posted

    Hi Dave

    Well done on 27 days free of zopiclone - almost a month!!!

    My dosage over the years has been much higher than yours - starting 15mg, now 22.5mg every night and

    sometimes self medication when I get desperate for sleep. Have you any thoughts on whether I would be

    more likely to have withdrawal effects after these higher doses? Good luck in your efforts. I hope, one day, I'll be able to say ...... I'm free of zimovane!!!!!!

  • Posted

    Sorry Kathleen I got it wrong. The 10mg was the Diazepam. At it's maximum I probably dropped around 8 3.75mg of Zopiclone over the course of a bad night.

    The strange thing is that when using these levels of Zopiclone I was not going to sleep at all yet still had the need to sling more and more down my throat in an attempt to get to sleep.

    This leaves one of three possibilities to my thinking. One is that the addiction is psychological, two that there is something else in the Zopiclone that is causing addiction or three that the way Zopiclone acts on the brain is not understood by those making and selling it. I'd tend to lean towards the later as being most likely responsible for the problems Zopiclone is causing.

    This is an interesting read below but it claims that problems with Zopiclone are not widespread which I simply do not believe. The article also mentions another problem with Zopiclone that I suffer with. During the night when asleep I might start swearing punching and kicking. I am a fairly easy going person when awake but I have had to sleep in another room to the missus who obviously doesn't like waking up with bruises. I currently have a large graze on my arm which I suffered a few nights ago when I woke up punching the bedside table. Hopefully this might stop now the Zopiclone is out of my system. My understanding is that when asleep there is some mechanism in the brain which should stop limbs moving about to match the dreaming. It seems that Zopiclone is prescribed to stop this so with the amount I was taking it shouldn't have been happening at all.





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