Gransnet forums


Zoplicone 7.5mg sleeping pills alternative?

(27 Posts)
nanou Wed 25-Sep-19 17:40:55

Dear Grans, My DH has been on Zoplicone 7.5mg for 25 years, which has given him many years of 'normal sleep'. He doesn't suffer from any side effects albeit the odd slight drowsiness. This week he heard from our GP that he can't prescribe it any longer as it is classified as a class A drug, very addictive. We are a bit lost atm, even our pharmacist is unaware of the ban!! Has anybody had a similar experience. Are all sleeping pills banned now? Finding a plant alternative is going to be challenging...

BlueBelle Wed 25-Sep-19 20:29:37

I do know that you have never supposed to be on them long term Well that’s what my Dad was told about 8 years ago he was given a very limited supply to help him through a difficult period and then that was it.
It certainly will be difficult after 25 years I would seriously try to never get involved with prescription sleeping pills He will need to get his body completely retrained

BlueBelle Wed 25-Sep-19 20:52:02

Just checked on the NHS website and it’s says you should only be prescribed them for 2 to 4 weeks so any doctor who has been prescribing for 25 years is well out if order

GeeKay Wed 25-Sep-19 20:57:02

I too was using Zoplicone 7.5 earlier this year, this resulting from (I can't recall the technical term) waking up in the middle of the night, and finding myself unable to get off again. I did try various kinds of substitute remedies, but no luck. Then eventually a friend suggested Pukka Night Time Herbal Tea (available in Tescos) and rather to my surprise I found it worked! Possibly the presence of valerian in the tea is one reason why it succeeded with me.

If you're interested in giving it a try, the method is to dunk a teabag (two or even three in my case) in half a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 15 mins. Best time to drink the brew is between 1 - 2 hours before going to bed. Hope this helps.

MotherHubbard Wed 25-Sep-19 22:14:23

I was last prescribed sleeping tablets 15 years ago after a traumatic event and took them for around a month. I recently visited my GP as I have been having trouble sleeping(another trauma) . She explained the practice no longer give out sleeping tablets due to their addictive properties but she could prescribe the old type of anti -histamines, which make you drowsy, for short term use as they are not addictive. Maybe your DH could ask his GP or the pharmacist for his advice.

BlueBelle Wed 25-Sep-19 22:25:02

It’s really valuable to your body to try to sleep naturally
We all get different patterns as we get older I think people who expect 8hours solid sleep are very rare and are expecting a lot
I rarely get more than 5 or 6 hours at very most and then not in one chunk I usually sleep for 3 then a couple of hours awake and then another 2 hours sleep but I don’t worry at all I just go with it and I think that the best way forward accept it and youll eventually get into a pattern that your body can manage
I ve had occasions where I ve been awake the whole night but again don’t stress and the next night you ll sleep better
Once you get into sleeping pills which is an artificial sleep it’s not good for you at all and you need them more and more

Daisymae Thu 26-Sep-19 08:53:02

After 25 years there are surely going to be some problems. I would suggest visiting the GP and asking for assistance to change over. Equally just because they are restricted doesn't mean that they can't be prescribed. My husband takes one that is now classified as a class A, but it means that there's restrictions, he still had it though. You really need medical advice here.

icanhandthemback Thu 26-Sep-19 09:02:37

Definitely discuss slow withdrawal with the GP for your husband. My Mum had to "come off" some medication she had been taking for years and she had the most terrible time. She now has some understanding of why drug abusers find it so hard to give up their addiction.
Do Dr's never learn? I seem to remember a big outcry about valium years ago.

Sussexborn Thu 26-Sep-19 09:37:32

When I was working and sometimes going through huge financial and health worries, sleep became the holy grail. Lying in bed feeling exhausted night after night is awful. Much easier now I am retired to have a quiet day when necessary.

Zopiclone have an indentation so can easily be snapped or cut in half which will be an easier way to come off them rather than immediate withdrawal from the highest dose. You could try asking your doctor to prescribe the half strength ones for a few months so that the body adapts more gradually. A pharmacist told me that the indentation means it is ok to break them to use half. My OH is another one who says to put your head on the pillow, close your eyes and go to sleep! If only! He had a secure and happy childhood which may be the difference.

The herbal tablets and sleep/relaxation items posted on YouTube also help a lot.

One young GP took over from a retiring one and just stopped virtually all sleeping and antidepressants drugs overnight. Caused total chaos and we had people weeping at the desk.A young man with three small children whose lovely wife had just died after years of cancer treatments was one. Much better to gradually cut down and discuss the reasons. Many of these patients went and registered elsewhere unsurprisingly.

BlueSapphire Thu 26-Sep-19 09:41:20

My doctor prescribed two weeks of Zopiclone after DH died 19 months ago, and they certainly helped on the odd night when I couldn't sleep. I probably took about one a month. Went to the GP about something else recently and asked if I could have another two weeks which she was happy to give me. I treat them as my emergency tablets when I've had a run of bad nights. Don't think I've opened the pack yet.

I think you should go back to your GP for help about being weaned off them and to ask for an alternative.

Luckygirl Thu 26-Sep-19 09:44:50

If your OH has been on them for 25 years, he will already be addicted to them and if the GP plans to take him straight off them, that is an act of cruelty frankly. He needs a planned, supervised and staged withdrawal from them.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 12:23:04

thank you all. I thought too that DH should get off them gradually due to the addictive side effects. What's disappointing is that our GP hasn't offered any help to wean him off. Thank you GeeKay we shall give it a try. By the way he splits the tablet in 2 every day so he takes how the dosage. Bluebelle I agree with your comment about GP out of order for allowing this situation. Thanks again Grans.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 12:23:56

every... night so he takes half the dosage.

GrandmaJan Thu 26-Sep-19 12:30:13

nanou Zopiclone is still available to prescribe but NICE say use with caution obviously. It’s been a restricted prescription drug for a few years now meaning a GP can only prescribe 28 days at a time and a patient must have the script dispensed with 28 days. It’s very difficult to stop Zopiclone without very careful monitoring particularly as your OH has been taking it for so long. I’m wondering why his GP is not prescribing it anymore. Get your DH to make an appointment to discuss it and if necessary get a plan to gradually reduce it. Going cold turkey is very unpleasant.

wildswan16 Thu 26-Sep-19 13:41:23

Your DH needs professional advice about how to cut down the Zopiclone. Please go back and ask to see a different GP.

You can do it yourselves by scraping a little off each tablet, reducing it week by week, but medical supervision would be better.

BlueBelle Thu 26-Sep-19 14:08:34

Is it the same gp that has been prescribing for 25 years that now whipped him off them? Or have you had a change of gp
I agree with others it needs monitoring to wean him off them slowly

crazyH Thu 26-Sep-19 14:13:27

I have been on Zopiclone 3.75mg for about 20 years - no side effects. I hope they don't stop mine as I need them for a fairly good night's sleep

wildswan16 Thu 26-Sep-19 14:59:23

crazyH but you DO have side effects. You are unable to sleep without them - therefore you are addicted to the drug. That is a very major side effect in my opinion.

silverlining48 Thu 26-Sep-19 17:14:28

I love zopiclone they really work and plan to take one tonight as I havnt slept more than an hour at a time fir the last week.
However am aware they are addictive so despite pleading my gp will only prescribe 14 at a time, which makes me ration them very carefully. The phenergen i had previously left me with a very unpleasant taste in the mouth.
I wish I could have a nap during the day, but it doesn’t happen.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 20:21:44

yep, he must have had an epiphany.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 20:22:55

answer to Bluebelle

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 20:28:51

GrandmaJan Going cold turkey is not an option, not at his age> GP hasn't stopped giving the zopiclone but warned him it will be the last time, so DH has 3 months to gradually stop taking it. In the grand scheme of things, I think it's kind of fair having read all your comments and experience.

GrandmaJan Thu 26-Sep-19 20:37:19

nanou if he can reduce them gradually then that’s good but still think it’s important for him to receive support from the person who has been prescribing the Zopiclone for such a long time.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 21:44:45

We certainly intend to get help from our dear GP. We are also having second thought about our his behaviour!! Not very professional all this and as ever if you want a good service one has to fight for it. Thanks GrandmaJan for your help.

nanou Thu 26-Sep-19 21:45:26

about... our GP behaviour