Zimovane is a prescription medication that’s used to treat sleep disorders like insomnia. It’s in a class of central nervous system depressants called Z-drugs. Drugs of this class act as sedative-hypnotics but have a chemical structure that’s distinct from the common sleep-aid drugs of the benzodiazepine class. Zimovane is a brand name for a drug that’s called zopiclone, which causes sedation, hypnosis, relaxation, and anti-anxiety. It can also cause side effects like drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, and lightheadedness.
Though they’re different than benzodiazepines, Z-drugs like Zimovane work in the brain in a similar way. They are GABAergic, which means they interact with a chemical messenger in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that binds to GABA receptors and activates them to regulate excitability in the nervous system. Zimovane also binds to these receptors to increase the efficiency of the GABA that binds to it.
However, long-term use or heavy doses can cause your brain to adapt to Zimovane, leading to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Quitting abruptly after developing a dependence on withdrawal can cause uncomfortable and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Zimovane works by suppressing excitability in the nervous system. As your body adapts to the drug, it may produce more stimulating chemicals to try to counteract it. When you cut back or stop using, your brain chemistry will become unbalanced, and your nervous system may be overactive. Overactive nerves can cause common symptoms like anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. In severe cases, you may experience delusions, seizures, and heart palpitations.
Withdrawal symptoms may be worse if you quit cold turkey after being dependent for a long time. If you’ve gone through withdrawal symptoms after quitting another depressant in the past like alcohol, you may experience more severe symptoms. A neurological phenomenon called kindling can cause changes in your brain that make each subsequent acute withdrawal period more intense. Other withdrawal symptoms can include:
24 hours. You will likely experience your first withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of your last dose. Early symptoms may include anxiety and insomnia.
Three days. Through the next few days after your last dose of Zimovane, your withdrawal symptoms will get worse until they reach their peak. Peak symptoms can include severe symptoms like seizures and heart palpitations.
One week. After your symptoms peak, they’ll start to go away. Physical symptoms are often the first to go, while psychological symptoms can linger, especially anxiety.
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One month. After a month, most over your acute symptoms will be gone, but you may have a few lingering problems like restlessness, insomnia, or anxiety. Drug cravings may also appear periodically.
Benzodiazepines aren’t as likely to lead to severe withdrawal symptoms as alcohol and barbiturates. However, if you quit cold turkey after developing a severe dependence, it is possible. Medical detox is intended for people that have pressing medical needs that require 24-hour medically managed treatment. Usually, detox is for people that are likely to go through intense and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, but it may also be necessary for people with other health concerns alongside withdrawal. As with any central nervous system depressant, it’s important to speak to a doctor before quitting cold turkey. If you enter an addiction treatment program, you should go through a medical evaluation to determine if medical detox is necessary for you.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 6). Prescription CNS Depressants. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, November). 8: Definition of dependence. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-drug-addiction/section-iii-action-heroin-morphine/8-definition-dependence
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
RxList. (2018, February 6). Benzodiazepines Drug Class: Side Effects, Types & Uses. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/benzodiazepines/drug-class.htm
RxList. (2019, September 17). Gamma-aminobutyric Acid: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage & Interactions. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/gamma-aminobutyric_acid/supplements.htm