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ZOPICLONE 3.75 MG TABLETS

Active substance(s): ZOPICLONE

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SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS

1

NAME OF THE MEDICINAL PRODUCT
Zopiclone 3.75 mg tablets

2

QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE COMPOSITION
Each tablet contains zopiclone 3.75 mg.
Excipients with known effect:
Each tablet contains 15.75 mg lactose (as lactose monohydrate).
For full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3

PHARMACEUTICAL FORM
Film-coated tablet .

White to off white, round, biconvex film-coated tablets with diameter of 5.95 mm
to 6.25 mm.

4

CLINICAL PARTICULARS

4.1

Therapeutic indications
Short term treatment of insomnia in adults, including difficulties in falling
asleep, nocturnal awakening and early awakening, transient, situational or
chronic insomnia, and insomnia secondary to psychiatric disturbances, in
situations where the insomnia is debilitating or is causing severe distress for
the patient. Long term continuous use is not recommended. A course of
treatment should employ the lowest effective dose.

4.2

Posology and method of administration
Use the lowest effective dose. Zopiclone should be taken in a single intake and
not be re-administered during the same night.

Adults
The recommended dose is 7.5mg zopiclone by the oral route shortly before
retiring.

Elderly patients
A lower dose of 3.75mg zopiclone should be employed to start treatment in
the elderly. Depending on effectiveness and acceptability, the dosage
subsequently may be increased if clinically necessary.
Paediatric population
Zopiclone should not be used in children and adolescents less than 18 years.
The safety and efficacy of zopiclone in children and adolescents aged less than
18 years have not been established.
Patients with hepatic insufficiency
As elimination of zopiclone may be reduced in patients with hepatic
dysfunction, a lower dose of 3.75mg zopiclone nightly is recommended.
The standard dose of 7.5mg zopiclone may be used with caution in some
cases, depending on effectiveness and acceptability.
Renal insufficiency
Accumulation of zopiclone or its metabolites has not been seen during
treatment of insomnia in patients with renal insufficiency. However, it is
recommended that patients with impaired renal function should start treatment
with 3.75mg.
Chronic respiratory insufficiency
In patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency, a starting dose of 3.75 mg
zopiclone is recommended initially. The dosage subsequently may be
increased to 7.5 mg.
Treatment duration
Transient insomnia 2 - 5 days.
Short term insomnia 2 - 3 weeks.
A single course of treatment should not continue for longer than 4 weeks
including any tapering off. Extension beyond the maximum treatment period
should not take place without re-evaluation of the patient's status.
The product should be taken just before retiring for the night.
Route of administration
For oral use only.
Each tablet should be swallowed whole without sucking, chewing or breaking.

4.3

Contraindications
Zopiclone is contraindicated in patients with:


Myasthenia gravis

Respiratory failure

Severe sleep apnoea syndrome

Severe hepatic insufficiency

Hypersensitivity to zopiclone or to any of the excipients.
As with all hypnotics zopiclone should not be used in children.
4.4

Special warnings and precautions for use
Specific patient groups
Use in hepatic insufficiency
A reduced dosage is recommended, see Posology. Benzodiazepines are not
indicated to treat patients with severe hepatic insufficiency as they may
precipitate encephalopathy (see section 4.3).
Use in renal insufficiency
A reduced dosage is recommended, see Posology.
Use in respiratory insufficiency
As hypnotics have the capacity to depress respiratory drive, precautions should
be observed if zopiclone is prescribed to patients with compromised
respiratory function (see section 4.8). A lower dose is recommended for
patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency due to the risk of respiratory
depression.
Use in paediatric population
Zopiclone should not be used in children and adolescents less than 18 years.
The safety and efficacy of zopiclone in children and adolescents aged less than
18 years have not been established.
Use in Elderly patients
Elderly should be given a reduced dose (see section 4.2).
Risk of dependence
Clinical experience to date with zopiclone suggests that the risk of dependence
is minimal when the duration of treatment is limited to not more than 4 weeks.
Use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents (even at therapeutic
doses) may lead to the development of physical and psychological dependence
or abuse upon these products.
The risk of dependence or abuse increases with:

Dose and duration of treatment.

Use with alcohol or other psychotropics.

It is also greater in patients with a history of alcohol and or drug abuse.

Those patients who have marked personality disorders.
The decision to use a hypnotic in such patients should be taken only with this
clearly in mind.

If physical dependence has developed, abrupt termination of treatment will be
accompanied by withdrawal symptoms (see section 4.4). These may consist
of headaches, muscle pain, extreme anxiety, tension, restlessness, confusion
and irritability. In severe cases the following symptoms may occur:
derealisation, depersonalisation, hyperacusis, numbness and tingling of the
extremities, hypersensitivity to light, noise and physical contact, hallucinations
or epileptic seizures.
Rare cases of abuse have been reported.
Withdrawal
The termination of treatment with zopiclone is unlikely to be associated with
withdrawal effects when duration of treatment is limited to 4 weeks. Patients
may benefit from tapering off the dose before discontinuation (see section
4.8.).
Depression
As with other hypnotics, zopiclone does not constitute a treatment for
depression and may even mask its symptoms (suicide may be precipitated in
such patients). Any underlying cause of the insomnia should also be
addressed before symptomatic treatment to avoid under treating potentially
serious effects of depression.
Tolerance
Some loss of efficacy to the hypnotic effect of benzodiazepines and
benzodiazepine-like agents may develop after repeated use for a few weeks.
However, with zopiclone there is an absence of any marked tolerance during
treatment periods of up to 4 weeks.
Rebound insomnia
A transient syndrome where the symptoms which led to treatment with a
benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-like agent recur in an enhanced form on
discontinuation of therapy. It may be accompanied by other reactions
including mood changes, anxiety and restlessness. Since the risk of
withdrawal/rebound phenomena may be increased after prolonged treatment,
or abrupt discontinuation of therapy, it is, therefore, recommended to decrease
the dosage gradually and to advise the patient accordingly.
A course of treatment should employ the lowest effective dose for the
minimum length of time necessary for effective treatment. See Posology for
guidance on possible treatment regimen. A course of treatment should not
continue for longer than 4 weeks including any tapering off (see section 4.8).
Amnesia
Amnesia is rare, but anterograde amnesia may occur, especially when sleep is
interrupted or when retiring to bed is delayed after taking the tablet.
Therefore to reduce the possibility of anterograde amnesia, patients should
ensure that they take the tablet when certain of retiring for the night and they
are able to have a full night’s sleep (uninterrupted sleep of about 7 to 8 hours).
Psychomotor impairment

Like other sedative/hypnotic drugs, zopiclone has CNS-depressant effects. The
risk of psychomotor impairment, including impaired driving ability, is
increased if: zopiclone is taken within 12 hours of performing activities that
require mental alertness, a dose higher than the recommended dose is taken, or
zopiclone is co-administered with other CNS depressants, alcohol or with
other drugs that increase the blood levels of zopiclone (see section 4.5).
Patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations
requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating
machinery or driving a motor vehicle following administration of zopiclone
and in particular during the 12 hours following that administration.

Other psychiatric and paradoxical reactions
Other psychiatric and paradoxical reactions have been reported (see section
4.8), like restlessness, agitation, irritability, aggression, delusion, anger,
nightmares, hallucinations, inappropriate behaviour and other adverse
behavioural effects are known to occur when using sedative/hypnotic agents
like zopiclone. Should this occur, use of zopiclone should be discontinued.
These reactions are more likely to occur in the elderly.
Somnambulism and associated behaviours
Sleep walking and other associated behaviours such as “sleep driving”,
preparing and eating food, or making phone calls, with amnesia for the event,
have been reported in patients who have taken zopiclone and were not fully
awake. The use of alcohol and other CNS-depressants with zopiclone appears
to increase the risk of such behaviours, as does the use of zopiclone at doses
exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Discontinuation of zopiclone
should be strongly considered for patients who report such behaviours (see
section 4.5).
Excipients
Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp
lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this
medicine.

4.5

Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
Association not recommended:

The sedative effect of zopiclone may be enhanced when used in combination
with alcohol, concomitant use is therefore not recommended. In particular this
could affect the patient’s ability to drive or use machines.
Associations to be taken into account:

In combination with CNS depressants an enhancement of the central
depressive effect may occur. The therapeutic benefit of co-administration with
antipsychotics (neuroleptics), hypnotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, antidepressant
agents, narcotic analgesics, anti-epileptic drugs, anaesthetics and sedative

antihistamines should therefore be carefully weighed. In the case of narcotic
analgesics, enhancement of euphoria may also occur leading to an increase in
psychic dependence. Compounds which inhibit certain hepatic enzymes
(particularly cytochrome P450) may enhance the activity of benzodiazepines
and benzodiazepine-like agents.
The effect of erythromycin on the pharmacokinetics of zopiclone has been
studied in 10 healthy subjects. The AUC of zopiclone is increased by 80% in
presence of erythromycin which indicates that erythromycin can inhibit the
metabolism of drugs metabolised by CYP 3A4. As a consequence, the
hypnotic effect of zopiclone may be enhanced.
Since zopiclone is metabolised by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4
isoenzyme (see section 5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties), plasma levels of
zopiclone may be increased when co-administered with CYP3A4 inhibitors
such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, ketoconazole, itraconazole and
ritonavir. A dose reduction for zopiclone may be required when it is coadministered with CYP3A4 inhibitors. Conversely, plasma levels of
zopiclone may be decreased when co-administered with CYP3A4 inducers
such as rifampicin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin and St. John’s
wort. A dose increase for zopiclone may be required when it is coadministered with CYP3A4 inducers.

4.6

Fertility pregnancy and lactation
Insufficient data are available on zopiclone to assess its safety during human
pregnancy and lactation.
Use during pregnancy
Experience of use of zopiclone during pregnancy in humans is limited
although there have been no adverse findings in animals. Use in pregnancy is
therefore not recommended.
If the product is prescribed to a woman of child bearing potential, she should
be warned to contact her physician about stopping the product if she intends to
become pregnant, or suspects that she is pregnant.
If zopiclone is used during the last three months of pregnancy or during
labour, due to the pharmacological action of the product, effects on the
neonate, such as hypothermia, hypotonia and respiratory depression can be
expected.
Infants born to mothers who took benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine-like
agents chronically during the latter stages of pregnancy may have developed
physical dependence and may be at some risk of developing withdrawal
symptoms in the postnatal period.
Use during lactation

Zopiclone is excreted in breast milk, although the concentration of zopiclone
in the breast milk is low, use in nursing mothers must be avoided.

4.7

Effects on ability to drive and use machines
Because of its pharmacological properties and its effect on central nervous system,
zopiclone may adversely affect the ability to drive or to use machines. The risk of
psychomotor impairment, including impaired driving ability, is increased if:



zopiclone is taken within 12 hours of performing activities that require
mental alertness,
• a dose higher than the recommended dose is taken, or
• zopiclone is co-administered with other CNS depressants, alcohol, or
with other drugs that increase the blood levels of zopiclone.
Patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations
requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating
machinery or driving a motor vehicle following administration of zopiclone
and in particular during the 12 hours following that administration.

4.8

Undesirable effects
The following CIOMS frequency rating is used, when applicable:
Very common (≥1/10); common (≥1/100 to <1/10); uncommon (≥1/1,000 to
<1/100); rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000); very rare (<1/10,000); not known
(cannot be estimated from the available data).
Immune system disorders
Very rare: angioedema, anaphylactic reaction.
Psychiatric disorders
Uncommon: nightmare, agitation.
Rare: confusional state, libido disorder, irritability, aggression, hallucination.
Not known: restlessness, delusion, anger, depressed mood, abnormal
behaviour (possibly associated with amnesia) and somnambulism (see section
4.4: somnambulism and associated behaviour), dependence (see section 4.4),
withdrawal syndrome (see below).
Nervous system disorders
Common: dysgeusia (Bitter taste), somnolence (residual).
Uncommon: dizziness, headache.

Rare: anterograde amnesia.
Not known: ataxia, paraesthesia, cognitive disorders such as memory
impairment, disturbance in attention, speech disorder .
Eye disorders
Not known: diplopia.
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Rare: dyspnoea (see section 4.4).
Not known: respiratory depression (see section 4.4).
Gastrointestinal disorders
Common: dry mouth.
Uncommon: nausea, vomiting.
Not known: dyspepsia.
Hepatobiliary disorders
Very rare: transaminases increased and/or blood alkaline phosphatase
increased (mild to moderate).
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Rare: urticaria or rash, pruritus.
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Not known: muscular weakness.
General disorders and administration site conditions
Uncommon: fatigue.
Not known: light headedness, incoordination.
Injury, poisoning and procedural complications
Rare: fall (predominantly in elderly patients).
Withdrawal syndrome has been reported upon discontinuation of zopiclone
(see section 4.4.). Withdrawal symptoms vary and may include rebound
insomnia, muscle pain, anxiety, tremor, sweating, agitation, confusion,
headache, palpitations, tachycardia, delirium, nightmares, hallucinations, panic
attacks, muscle aches/cramps, gastrointestinal disturbances and irritability. In

severe cases the following symptoms may occur: derealisation,
depersonalisation, hyperacusis, numbness and tingling of the extremities,
hypersensitivity to light, noise and physical contact,. In very rare cases,
seizures may occur.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal
product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance
of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any
suspected adverse reactions via Yellow Card Scheme at:
www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard

4.9

Overdose
Fatal dose not known.
Symptoms
Overdose is usually manifested by varying degrees of central nervous system
depression ranging from drowsiness to coma according to the quantity
ingested. In mild cases, symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, and
lethargy; in more severe cases, symptoms may include ataxia, hypotonia,
hypotension, methaemoglobinaemia, respiratory depression, and coma.
Overdose should not be life threatening unless combined with other CNS
depressants, including alcohol. Other risk factors, such as the presence of
concomitant illness and the debilitated state of the patient, may contribute to
the severity of symptoms and very rarely can result in fatal outcome.
Management
Symptomatic and supportive treatment in adequate clinical environment is
recommended, attention should be paid to respiratory and cardiovascular
functions.
Consider activated charcoal if an adult has ingested more than 150 mg or a
child more than 1.5 mg/kg within one hour. Alternatively, consider gastric
lavage in adults within one hour of a potentially life-threatening overdose. If
CNS depression is severe consider the use of flumazenil. It has a short halflife (about an hour). NOT TO BE USED IN MIXED OVERDOSE OR AS A
“DIAGNOSTIC” TEST. Management should include general symptomatic
and supportive measures including a clear airway and monitoring cardiac and
vital signs until stable.

5

PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES

5.1

Pharmacodynamic properties

ATC Code: N05C F01
Zopiclone is a hypnotic agent, and a member of the cyclopyrrolone group of
compounds. It rapidly initiates and sustains sleep without reduction of total REM
sleep and with preservation of slow wave sleep. Negligible residual effects are seen
the following morning. Its pharmacological properties include hypnotic, sedative,
anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and muscle-relaxant actions. These are related to its high
affinity and specific agonist action at central receptors belonging to the 'GABA'
macromolecular receptor complex modulating the opening of the chloride ion
channel. However, it has been shown that zopiclone and other cyclopyrrolones act on
a different site to those of benzodiazepines including different conformational
changes in the receptor complex.

5.2

Pharmacokinetic properties
Absorption: Zopiclone is absorbed rapidly. Peak concentrations are reached within
1.5 - 2 hours and they are approximately 30 ng/ml and 60 ng/ml after administration
of 3.75mg and 7.5mg respectively. Absorption is not modified by gender, food or
repetition of doses.
Distribution: The product is rapidly distributed from the vascular compartment.
Plasma protein binding is weak (approximately 45%) and non saturable. There is
very little risk of drug interactions due to protein binding. The volume of
distribution is 91.8 - 104.6 litres.
At doses between 3.75 - 15mg, plasma clearance does not depend on dose. The
elimination half life is approximately 5 hours. After repeated administration, there is
no accumulation, and inter-individual variations appear to be very small.
Metabolism: Zopiclone is extensively metabolised in humans to two major
metabolites, N-oxide zopiclone (pharmacologically active in animals) and Ndesmethyl zopiclone (pharmacologically inactive in animals). An in-vitro study
indicates that cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 is the major isoenzyme involved in the
metabolism of zopiclone to both metabolites, and that CYP2C8 is also involved with
N-desmethyl zopiclone formation. Their apparent half-lives (evaluated from the
urinary data) are approximately 4.5 hours and 1.5 hours respectively. No significant
accumulation is seen on repeated dosing (15mg) for 14 days. In animals, no enzyme
induction has been observed even at high doses.
Excretion: The low renal clearance value of unchanged zopiclone (mean 8.4ml/min)
compared with the plasma clearance (232ml/min) indicates that zopiclone clearance is
mainly metabolic. The product is eliminated by the urinary route (approximately
80%) in the form of free metabolites (n-oxide and n-desmethyl derivatives) and in the
faeces (approximately 16%).

Special patient groups: In elderly patients, notwithstanding a slight decrease in
hepatic metabolism and lengthening of elimination half-life to approximately 7 hours,
various studies have shown no plasma accumulation of drug substance on repeated
dosing. In renal insufficiency, no accumulation of zopiclone or of its metabolites has
been detected after prolonged administration. Zopiclone crosses dialysis membranes.
In cirrhotic patients, the plasma clearance of zopiclone is clearly reduced by the
slowing of the desmethylation process: dosage will therefore have to be modified in
these patients.

5.3

Preclinical safety data
There are no preclinical data of relevance to the prescriber which are additional to
that already included in other sections of the SPC.

6

PHARMACEUTICAL PARTICULARS

6.1

List of excipients
Tablet Core:
Lactose monohydrate
Calcium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
Maize starch
Starch pregelatinized
Magnesium stearate
Film-coating:
Opadry white 03B28796 containing:
Hypromellose
Titanium dioxide
Macrogol 400

6.2

Incompatibilities
Not applicable

6.3

Shelf life
2years

6.4

Special precautions for storage
Store below 30oC.
Keep the blister in the outer carton in order to protect from light and moisture.

6.5

Nature and contents of container
Clear PVC/aluminium foil blisters containing 7, 10, 14, 28, 30, film-coated tablets,
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.

6.6

Special precautions for disposal
No special requirements.

7

MARKETING AUTHORISATION HOLDER
Morningside Healthcare Ltd
115 Narborough Road
Leicester,
LE3 0PA, U.K

8

MARKETING AUTHORISATION NUMBER(S)
PL20117/0268

9

DATE OF FIRST AUTHORISATION/RENEWAL OF THE
AUTHORISATION
22/06/2017

10

DATE OF REVISION OF THE TEXT
22/06/2017

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