Zopiclone and zolpidem are non-benzodiazepine hypnotics used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

They are generally taken at night-time.

Zopiclone & zolpidem can be used to treat insomnia for up to 4 weeks.

Tolerance & dependence may develop with long-term use.

The standard dose is 7.5mg zopiclone or 10mg zolpidem.

They should be used with caution in the elderly; half the "standard" dose is typically used in this group.

Zaleplon, another non-benzodiazepine hypnotic, is very short acting & may be used to treat insomnia for up to 2 weeks.

These drugs should not be given if there are any of the following conditions:

- myasthenia gravis
- respiratory failure
- severe sleep apnoea syndrome
- severe liver impairment
- pregnancy
- breast-feeding

Side-effects of zopiclone & zolpidem:

- drowsiness
- bitter or metallic taste (zopiclone)
- nausea & vomiting
- diarrhoea
- dry mouth
- irritability
- confusion
- depressed mood
- dizziness/lightheadedness
- incoordination

Headache, dependence, hallucinations, nightmares, & amnesia are less common side-effects.

Zopiclone & zolpidem enhance the effects of alcohol.

Drowsiness may persist the next day & affect performance of skilled tasks (eg. driving).

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