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What Is Zopiclone Withdrawal?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Zopiclone withdrawal can cause unpleasant symptoms in patients who have taken this sleep aid for more than four weeks. These can include rebound insomnia, tremors, and serious neurological complications like seizures. The drug is only recommended for short term use, but if a patient does use it for an extended period of time, it is important to taper the dosage when stopping it, rather than ceasing abruptly. Patients who suddenly stop their medication may develop symptoms of zopiclone withdrawal.

This drug and others related to it, called z-drugs, were originally marketed as being less habit-forming than older sleep aids. Research indicated that this was not the case as larger patient populations used them and found themselves growing dependent. Patients taking zopiclone for as little as a week may experience withdrawal symptoms, and those who use it for weeks or months can be at increased risk of more serious side effects when they stop taking it.

Rebound insomnia making it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night can be a warning sign of zopiclone withdrawal. Other patients may have problems like tremors, sweating, and discomfort. Seizures and delirium have been reported in some cases, along with extreme disorientation in older adults. These side effects are much more rare, but are a consideration when a patient is preparing to stop zopiclone, especially if there is a history of problems with sleep aids or other drugs that act on the nervous system.

There are several different options for patients who want to avoid zopiclone withdrawal. One approach is to slowly lower the dosage over time, and to stop taking pills every night. This can help the patient’s body adjust to reduced levels of the drug until it is possible to stop taking it altogether. Another option is to transition to a different medication, like valium, that can control the symptoms of zopiclone withdrawal and keep the patient comfortable. Over time, this can be reduced so the patient won’t need to use it.

People with a recent history of zopiclone use lasting more than two weeks may want to discuss this when they meet with care providers. It can be important to be aware of this when discussing symptoms and side effects for conditions and medications that appear unrelated. The patient may also need another prescription to prevent withdrawal symptoms, or help with a tapering program to get off the medication. These services can be provided if patients make sure all the necessary information is available to their doctors.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1005894 — On Dec 13, 2021

I am suffering with these symptoms, but didn’t realize it was withdrawal symptoms until I googled the pill. This started three weeks ago with the burning of the tongue and heart attack like symptoms and the sore lips and mouth and the itching of the face. So I went to the doctor and he put me on a couple of pills to help.

I should say I’ve only been on it for two months or so, but have been upping the dose as needed to help me sleep and that’s when this all started. Well, after taking these pills for 14 days and no relief, I ended up in the hospital with heart attack symptoms, but after ECG, found out that’s all good. So I told my doctor I have strawberry tongue and he agreed with me and suggested I use a prescription mouth wash that he will send to the pharmacy. So I waited for two days before anyone knew how to make it and then used it for four days, and still had no relief. I had been gargling with salt, honey, silver, and other stuff but nothing was working. So a few days later, after crying with pain, I asked God for help and he said google side effects of this pill. Now it is two mornings later and I’m awake at 4:30 and there is no tongue pain yet.

Yesterday I had to take three things for the itch and pain in my mouth, so we will see how today goes and my journey to get off this killer medication.

By anon1000667 — On Nov 13, 2018

I take zopiclone when I get up in the morning, and when I have to go somewhere like any places I don't like, like appointments, etc. I have to take two, but on a normal day, everyday I take just 1 tablet. I tried to give them up but it never worked. I tried diazepam, but it made me more depressed. As I said, I don't take anymore than 1 tablet a day and not for sleep, it seems. Well, it wakes me up and calms my bad anxiety. I've been on this zopiclone over 10 years. Every day as my body is so cold and I hurt 20 minutes after I get out of bed. Does anybody have this too?

By anon999385 — On Dec 24, 2017

I'm 31, and I've been on this drug since I was 14. It started with insomnia but I quickly adapted and enjoyed the pattern hallucinations. Most of all, however, I enjoyed the memory loss. I was miserable at that age (still mostly am) and it seemed like a good way to time skip my way through an unpleasant period in life.

It also gave me courage, and since I adapted enough that it actually kept me awake, I began to use it as soon as I woke up. Things I was afraid of before (like spiders) I could handle like it was nothing. No one could intimidate me and that is a powerful feeling. It's like you are a completely different person, and when you don't like who you are it's a very appealing feeling.

Now what I do is do binges. I get a 3 month prescription of 400 tabs 7.5mg tablets and do my best to burn through it within a month or so. This is because when I was using it every day for years and years and stopped half of my face went numb for a couple days, but that was only mildly annoying and nothing compared to when I get withdrawal from Percocet, which I get around 200 a month for migraines.

I could blame the doctors for pushing it on me when I was basically a kid, but what would it help? I am where I am now, which is basically nowhere. I'm just a man who might have grown up, but I honestly can't remember. I don't drive, I don't work, I don't care. The only thing it's never given me is enough courage to do is take my life. I guess there are some levels of cowardice so deep even those blue devils can't reach it.

By anon999178 — On Nov 10, 2017

I was on this drug for almost two years, and recently decided to go cold turkey, and the withdrawal symptoms have been pure hell. Does anyone know how long it will take for them to disappear?

By anon998704 — On Aug 08, 2017

I have bipolar which I have to have controlled by a prescribed drug. Have had spells in hospital etc. Zopiclone was also prescribed but a few weeks ago was suddenly stopped by mental health team doctor. Hardly getting any sleep, having panic attacks hallucinations. Was never told by him what side effects of withdrawal could be. Only realized this had happened when missing from blister pack. At same time was discharged from team so no follow up checks etc.

By anon993475 — On Nov 18, 2015

I was on 3.75 mg zoplicone for 6 years. I went on a high nutrient diet for a year, cut coffee to 1/2 cup per day supplemented with Dandyblend coffee substitute, then weaned off cutting the zoplicone in half every 2 weeks for a month. Had no withdrawal symptoms and now use a little melatonin and New Roots sleep aid. I tried unsuccessfully a few times before to quit but am convinced the high nutrient Dr. Furhman diet with the coffee cutting made the difference.

I have fibromyalgia with the sleep disorder that goes along with that so sleeping has been a huge problem for me for 40 years. I have taken no other drugs for about 15 years, just some MSM and vitamins. Am now completely drug free.

By anon967649 — On Aug 28, 2014

If you quit cold turkey, it will stink. Go 12 days and you will remember what it feels like to be tired. Symptoms of withdrawal include sweating, sleeplessness, panic attacks, twitchy feet, headaches. But for 6-12 days, it's worth it!

By anon951940 — On May 19, 2014

I was on zopiclone for about two months. Out of nowhere, insomnia hit me and I wasn't able to sleep for two nights straight. I went to the doctor and he prescribed me 10 X 7.5mg zopiclone tablets. The nights I didn't take it I wasn't able to sleep. Maybe an hour or so, max! I went back to the doctor when I almost ran out and he prescribed me 30 X 7.5mg's.

I was worried I was going to become addicted as I was taking one every night to get to sleep so I started cutting them in half. I wasn't getting as much sleep on 3.2mg. I felt I was becoming addicted to the stuff after a month and a bit so jumped online to find a natural alternative and came across melatonin. Tried that and the first night it didn't work. I'm guessing this was because of the rebound insomnia from stopping the zopiclone.

The second night I was able to drift off to sleep. It's been 5 nights now taking melatonin and it's done wonders for me. Got me off zopiclone and sends me to sleep quite quickly. I still wake up in the middle of the night, but I'm able to drift back off to sleep again.

By fibromite — On Mar 23, 2014

@ddljohn: As you can see from my last post, I suffer all the time, especially during the evenings with constant dribbling. It's awful if you ever go for night out. If I feel well enough at a meal out, I have to dribble into a glass trying to pretend I am drinking. It is very embarrassing.

By fibromite — On Mar 23, 2014

I have been on zopiclone for 15 years. I tried to get off twice and it was absolute hell. I got no sleep for week at least, anxiety, panic, hallucinations, I couldn't lie down, had pain everywhere and extreme restlessness and was dribbling frothy stuff for days. I constantly thought I was going to die. I had the sweats, sore skin and burning numbness and a fast heartbeat.

When I went through this hell both times, when I was starting to feel better my husband told me he was leaving and I had other issues. I was not ready for this intense stress and went on it again, but I could not go through that again. I have also got fibromyalgia which is extremely painful and these pills help it and my chronic insomnia. I still seem to have constant dribbling all the time. One day I would like to stop. I just don't feel ready yet. I am a 48 year old housewife, but have too much stress and a controlling husband.

By ysmina — On Sep 06, 2013
Zopiclone withdrawal is giving me flu-like symptoms -- mainly fatigue, nausea, muscle aches and pains.

I think this drug should be illegal. It's very easy to abuse and doctors are not being diligent about following up on patients and making sure that they don't use this drug for a long time. Zopiclone is very addictive and I built tolerance to it quickly. My doctor did not care and kept prescribing it for me. I doubled my dose in just a few months and became reliant on it to get sleep.

I've heard that this drug is even available online now and it's being abused big time, not just in the US but in Europe also.

By ZipLine — On Sep 05, 2013

@ddljohn-- I'm not experiencing the saliva issue, but I have a lot of anxiety since I quit the drug three days ago. I decided to go cold-turkey since I was taking a very low dose- just 3.5mg/day. I did not realize that zopiclone is so habit forming. I have to urge to take it again but I've been able to fight it so far.

By ddljohn — On Sep 05, 2013
My wife is having a terrible time withdrawing from zopiclone. Her doctor prescribed it three months ago and did not say anything about dependency and that these are meant for short term use. She cannot sleep at all since reducing her dose and is experiencing excess saliva. She has so much saliva that she has to spit it out regularly. She says she feels like she's going to choke on it.

Has anyone else had this odd withdrawal symptom from zipiclone?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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