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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18446
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hi, I'm having sleeping problems, both falling asleep and staying

Customer Question

Hi, I'm having sleeping problems, both falling asleep and staying asleep and my GP put it down to age, I'm 72, and didn't seem that interested.
About a year ago I started taking Zopiclone, obtained online without a prescription, and now regularly take half a tablet. 3.75mg to help me fall asleep and often a further half a tablet at around 3.00 am to assist in the remainder of the night.
I don't seem to have anything particular on my mind, am happily married, semi retired, fit, take exercise and don't suffer from depression.
I want to know if continuing to take Zopiclone is a problem and, since I would rather not take anything, if there are alternatives.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.
It will help if you could provide some further information.
Are you aware and implemented good sleep hygiene practices?
Did you try any over the counter sleep aids prior to trying the Zopiclone?
Is the poor sleep causing any symptoms during the day?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
I had asked for some further information and have not heard back.

The primary risk in using the zopiclone long-term is that it can induce tolerance and potentially be addicting. When it was first approved, it was thought that it would not do this, but with further use, it is apparent that it can happen. It is a lower risk than many of the other sleeping medicines, but it can occur with long-term use.

The other risk of using the zopiclone is that it can cause excessive drowsiness in the morning upon awakening, and this is primarily a concern when performing activities that require alertness, such as driving. This can be a problem with short or long-term use, but the only reason that it may be more of an issue with long-term use is that there is a greater chance that something will happen that will require alertness, such as someone suddenly running in front of a car that you are driving. Since you are semi-retired, you may not be in a position that you are driving before the effect of the drug wears off, so it may be less of a risk for you, but it is one of the concerns with the use of zopiclone.

From the ersective of alternatives, there are a group of actions that are collectively referred to as good sleep hygiene, and consistently adopting these practices can help promote good sleep. You can review these actions at http://yoursleep.aasmnet.org/Hygiene.aspx. As for other alternatives, the supplement that may be able to help with sleep is melatonin, which is available as a specific supplement, but also an ingredient in various over the counter sleep aids.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry, I didn't get notified of your first reply.

I do seem to practice good sleep hygiene according to your list other than having a glass of wine with my very light evening meal, around 7.00pm. I also sometimes have a post prandial nap of 20 mins.

I tried some herbal sleep aids and melatonin but they were not of help.

If I don't take a sleeping tablet I take a long while to get to sleep and as I'm a natural early riser, about 05.45 get quite tired during the day.

I've not noticed my use increasing and while it's true I do sometimes have a bit of drowsiness on waking I always take an early morning 2 mile walk and am fully awake after that.

Should I try and wean myself off Zopiclone and live with the consequences or is it safe, if my use doesn't increase to accept it as part and parcel of getting older?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
If you are not in a situation in which tolerance is developing and the situation is such that there is no concern about possible drowsiness in the morning, then there is less concern about long-term use and it would otherwise be OK to use chronically.

Personally, I prefer to try several other prescription options before accepting that long term use of sleeping pills is necessary. Commonly used medicines include certain antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines that have also been helpful in helping with sleep, even if there is no depression or seizures present. The medicines in each category that I have used most often are trazodone and gabapentin, respectively.

However, if other options for long-term management are not successful, sometimes long-term use of sleeping pills is the only effective option, and within that context, the zoplicone is certainly one of the better sleeping pills to use for long-term management.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** helpful and reassuring.

Best wishes

David

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome. I am glad I could be of assistance.

If I have answered all your questions, please remember to provide a positive rating so that I am credited for assisting you.
Dr. D. Love and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr Love,

I now have some tradazone 100mg tablets, easily halved.

Can you advise as to use?

Do I continue with my zoplicone for a while or stop those and try the tradazone or do they take a while to click in?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the delay, but I was away from the computer.

The usual dose of trazodone to help with sleep is 50 - 100 mg at night. However, it is common for it to take a week or two to build up in the system, so it would be reasonable to continue the zoplicone for those two weeks and then come off.

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