Zopiclone exerts its action by binding on the benzodiazepine receptor complex and modulation of the GABABZ receptor chloride channel macromolecular complex. Both zopiclone and benzodiazepines act indiscriminately at the benzodiazepine binding site on _1, _2, _3 and _5 GABAA containing receptors as full agonists causing an enhancement of the inhibitory actions of GABA to produce the therapeutic (hypnotic and anxiolytic) and adverse effects of zopiclone.
Zopiclone is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic from the pyrazolopyrimidine class and is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia. While Zopiclone is a hypnotic agent with a chemical structure unrelated to benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other drugs with known hypnotic properties, it interacts with the gamma-aminobutyric acid-benzodiazepine (GABABZ) receptor complex. Subunit modulation of the GABABZ receptor chloride channel macromolecular complex is hypothesized to be responsible for some of the pharmacological properties of benzodiazepines, which include sedative, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsive effects in animal models. Zopiclone binds selectively to the brain alpha subunit of the GABA A omega-1 receptor.
Extensively metabolized in the liver via decarboxylation (major pathway), demethylation, and side chain oxidation. Metabolites include an N-oxide derivative (weakly active; approximately 12% of a dose) and an N-desmethyl metabolite (inactive; approximately 16%). Approximately 50% of a dose is converted to other inactive metabolites via decarboxylation. Hepatic microsomal enzymes are apparently not involved in zopiclone clearance.
Rare individual instances of fatal outcomes following overdose with racemic zopiclone have been reported in European postmarketing reports, most often associated with overdose with other CNS-depressant agent. Signs and symptoms of overdose effects of CNS depressants can be expected to present as exaggerations of the pharmacological effects noted in preclinical testing.