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Can anybody explain why my Mother has been taking zopiclone for over 20 years and it still helps her sleep. Why hasn't she hit tolerance. She takes it a couple of times per week 3.75mg and sometimes 7.5mg.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Sleepyjo,


Of course - like with any other medication - there is great variation between in how individuals react to benzodiazpines.


Further, since Zopiclone has a pretty short half-life (5-6 hours), and your mother takes it only a couple of times a week, she is unlikely to develop dependency (or tolerance). It is the chronic presence of benzodiazpines (or z-drugs) which leads to the kind of changes where these matters become an issue. What Professor Ashton wrote about Halcion and two of the z-drugs (zolpidem and zaleplon) relates to this matter:




In my experience, the only exception to the general rule of slow reduction is triazolam (Halcion). This benzodiazepine is eliminated so quickly (half-life 2 hours) that you are practically withdrawn each day, after a dose the night before. For this reason, triazolam can be stopped abruptly without substitution of a long-acting benzodiazepine. If withdrawal symptoms occur, you could take a short course of diazepam starting at about 10mg, decreasing the dosage as shown on Schedule 2. The same approach applies to the non-benzodiazepines zolpidem and zaleplon which both have half-lives of 2 hours.

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Also, taking that lower 3.75 mg dose only a few times a week is going to be a big help in avoiding tolerance.


It took me a few years to hit tolerance with zopiclone. But I was taking the full dose and I could probably count on one hand the number of times I skipped a dose over a span of many years.


Also, once you do hit tolerance, that short half life really works against you. You are basically assured of getting interdose withdrawal and essentially kindling on a daily basis. I think that's what ultimately did me in and why I'm here 7 years later.

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