How Eszoplicone Helps You Get to Sleep

Eszopiclone belongs to a group of drugs called cyclopyrrolones, which are hypnotics.  You may hear these types of insomnia treatments referred to as “z-drugs”, a nickname which was acquired because most of the medicine names begin with the letter ‘z’.  Eszopiclone and other z-drugs work in a very similar way to benzodiazepine drugs by acting on GABA receptors in the body.


What is GABA?

GABA is the short name for gamma-aminobutyric acid.  It is an amino acid but acts as a neurotransmitter in the body. Its primary job in the body is to calm neuron activity.  Before you can understand the importance of GABA for sleep, you must understand the basics of how the nervous system works.


Your nervous system is a very complex system which acts like the electrical wiring of your body.  The “wires” are neurons which have a branching shape.  What is unique about the nervous system is that neurons are not directly connected with each other.  Rather, there is a space between neurons.  In order to transmit electrical signals from one neuron to the next, the body uses chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.  These neurotransmitters fill the space between neurons so they can complete the circuit.


GABA is a neurotransmitter but, instead of helping transmit nerve signals, it blocks them instead.   If the body doesn’t have enough GABA, then neurons can get overexcited.  By increasing GABA, the body stays calm.  Many common conditions are caused from deficiencies in GABA, such as anxiety, migraines, seizures, and drug addictions.


Eszopiclone Increases GABA

Eszopiclone works by binding onto neurons and activated GABA.  Since Eszopiclone is quickly absorbed into the body, it has a rapid calming effect.  Within just 15 minutes or so of taking Eszopiclone, GABA levels are already elevated and you will feel calm and be able to sleep better.  While Eszopiclone is fast acting, its effects also wear off quickly.  The half-life of Eszopiclone (the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be removed from the body system) is just 6 hours.  For this reason, Eszopiclone is recommended for helping patients fall asleep but it will not help patients stay asleep.


GABA is the most common neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and its receptors are throughout the entire body.  By taking Eszopiclone, you will not just be affecting the GABA receptors related to sleep, but the GABA throughout your entire body.  This is why Eszopiclone can cause side effects like poor memory, impaired vision, and dizziness.


Tolerance and Dependence to Eszopiclone

Even though Eszopiclone helps induce sleep in the same way as benzodiazepines, it does cause tolerance or dependence as rapidly.  Thus, Eszopiclone is generally considered the safer drug.  However, it is still possible for your body to adjust to the effects of Eszopiclone.  If the medicine is used regularly over a long period of time, it may become ineffective in treating insomnia and could cause withdrawal symptoms if treatment is stopped.

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