Zopiclone 5 mg for 10 yrs--with a weird use?

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About 8 years ago I was sent to a sleep clinic to investigate severe insomnia. I had increasingly worse case of feeling mentally alert at night, having rambling thoughts through to the morning hours. The sleep clinic doctor said I woke up something like 65 times and something about my sleep state going from deep REM to wakefulness uncommonly rapidly. He prescribed Zopiclone--I think 5 mg. It worked for me at first--I slept almost 8 hours. Then after a short while its effectivness kept reducing in duration until I was always awake after 4 hours, so I was given 7.5 ml (after a while, same effect again after 4 hours), then 15 ml, which was too strong and left me totally zoned out the next day (and anyway left me feeling awake after 4 hours). Since the stronger dose didn't seem to be better than 5 mg for me, I first asked for a reduction down to 7.5 mg, and then down again to 5 mg, which I have been on for many years.

Strange use? It seems the benefit of zopiclone for me is in helping me fall asleep and stay asleep for 4 hours, not 8. Here's my nightly ritual, every single night: I split the 5 mg pill in half and take the first half at bedtime. After about 3-5 hours, I rouse from sleep to find my thoughts are rambling uncontrollably again, so I take the second half of the pill at around 4 in the morning. I then generally sleep soundly and wake up in time to get ready for work.

Here are my questions for the group: Is there anything weird about this pattern of staying on 5 mg or years on end, and taking them in two halves every night? Is there any reason to be concerned about continuing to do this? 

Thanks so much in advance for your insights.

1 like, 9 replies

9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Stella

    ​They are not normally used in long term treatment, but if it works for you stick with it, and no nothing wrong at all about splitting the dose. Just curious as to your age ? Zopiclone has just been reclassified as a benzodiazepine and you'll hear alot of scare stories on hear. Have a med review with your DR, but if it ain't broke don't fix it. If it's not having any adverse effect, nightmares, drowsy feeling or depersonilaztion Dr will prob say leave well enough alone smile

    • Posted

      Thanks, Craig. I'm 45 now. I'll try asking my doctor about reviewing, although she barely pays any attention at all to what's going on. (This is one of the reasons I was wondering whether it's okay to use it as I have--my doctor wouldn't think to advise me against it even if it weren't an appropriate use, I'm sure.) 
  • Posted

    I am 7.5mg a night and have been for many years

    i find it usually works for me, but while zopiclone gets you of to sleep, it only stays in your system for around five or six hours max.

    i only ever get six hours sleep on a good night.

    any less than that then I feel ill next day.

    as much as I want to stay asleep, I always wake up and can't get of again.

    and yes, rambling thoughts take over almost immediately.

    I have tried splitting tab in half but don't usually manage to fall asleep so give in and take the other half, unless I am completely knackered.

    If that works for you then by all means continue. You are doing nothing wrong.


    • Posted

      Thank you, vivien58797! Good to hear about others' experiences with it. 
  • Posted

    If its 5mg sounds like zolpidem , stilnoct z drugs are only usually get you to sleep lasting 4 hours some people are able to get back to sleep others take more , try and let the thoughts pass like clouds , breath and go with it sounds weird but it works , the more I was letting thoughts take over the less sleep I got , when I recognised them only as thoughts they passed and I went back to sleep it takes practice but I promise it works I used to get up and take another making me tired the next day , remember these are only thoughts breath in get into a more comfortable position 6 breathe in and 6 out through the nose concentrate and they will pass and sleep will come xx believe in yourself your stronger than you think x
  • Posted

    I got prescribed the drug because I wasn't entering the other sleep stages and going direct into REM sleep and then wake then REM sleep then wake etc

    Zopiclone fixed it immediately, 9 years later I'm still taking them for it.

    • Posted

      Daniel19975, interesting--what is your dosage? Have you stayed on the same dosage for the entire 9 years? Your REM/wake problem sounds like mine. 
  • Posted

    No reason to be concerned with splitting your doses although it may leave you more groggy in the morning haha. Have you ever tried asking your doctor for a different medication of its not working for you? Perhaps one with a longer half life, like temazepam? Although this one has a very long half life (18 hours I believe) so you will be very tired the next day unless you get all the sleep you need.

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