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J Med Case Rep. 2010 Dec 10;4:403. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-4-403.

Long-term misuse of zopiclone in an alcohol dependent woman with a history of anorexia nervosa: a case report.

Author information

  • 1King's College, University of London, Institute of Psychiatry, National Addiction Centre and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Box 048, 4 Windsor Walk, London, SE5 8BB, UK. alun.morinan@kcl.ac.uk.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The Z-drugs, zaleplon, zopiclone and zolpidem, are short-acting hypnotics which act at the same receptor as the benzodiazepines, but seemingly without the potential for misuse and the development of dependence of the older benzodiazepines. However, with increased prescribing of Z-drugs, reports of misuse and possible dependence began to appear in the literature, particularly in people with a history of substance misuse and comorbid psychiatric illness. Here we report the case of a woman with a history of chronic zopiclone use and anorexia nervosa, admitted for alcohol detoxification.

CASE PRESENTATION:

A 31-year old Caucasian British woman with a history of long-term zopiclone use and anorexia nervosa was admitted as an inpatient for a ten-day alcohol detoxification. Her weekly (four days out of seven) intake of alcohol was 180 units and her daily intake of zopiclone, 30 mg. Apart from a short period five years ago, she had been taking zopiclone for 13 years at daily doses of up to 90 mg. She admitted to using 'on top' of her prescribed medication, purchasing extra tablets from friends or receiving them gratis from her partner. After detoxification from alcohol and zopiclone, she was prescribed diazepam which she found ineffectual and voiced her intention of returning to zopiclone on leaving the hospital.

CONCLUSION:

Zopiclone is generally regarded as safer than benzodiazepines, however, this particular individual, who was using high doses of zopiclone over many years, may provide further evidence of a risk of dependency when this drug is prescribed for substance users with a comorbid psychiatric illness.

PMID:
21143957
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3014964
Free PMC Article
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