Imovane / Zopiclone – Canada’s version of Ambien…

With the acquisition of InterVideo and Ulead many of us at Corel have had to adjust to a 12 hour time zone shift and a 24 hour flight as part of our business lives. The sleep disruption that accompanies that shift is tremendous. I can’t remember a more miserable 3 weeks in my life than the feeling of “permanently stupid” that accompanied not sleeping during and after my first few trips to Taiwan.

My US peers were telling me I should be trying Ambien – but it wasn’t available in Canada. However, a trip to the doctor did point me towards Zopiclone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zopiclone), a near relative. The non-generic name is Imovane in Canada or Zimovane in the UK.

I’m anti-medication in general, but am glad I made an exception for Zopiclone. My experience was that I could take a full pill the first couple of days, then could go down to half a pill for the next couple of days, then could tough it out. The real benefit, (other than actually being able to sleep the first few nights <grin>), was that I found that using the pills helped to reset my body clock.

I’d then repeat that same use pattern when I arrived back in Canada (I was typically gone two weeks, and was fully acclimatized to Taiwan’s time zone by the time I was heading back)!

When first prescribed, I was being told it wasn’t addictive at all – but some studies now are reporting “bounce back” insomnia after you stop taking it (worse the longer you take it). I don’t believe I suffered any bounceback – I took the pills for only a short time, and was still not “in time zone” as I stopped taking them. I do know it was far less painful than trying to live with the “1 hour of time zone change / day” that I was getting without giving my body some assistance.

It does require a prescription, but for people taking trips to Taiwan, I haven’t heard of anyone having a problem. For results, of course, “YMMV” (your mileage may vary).

Here’s one study that was done comparing Zopiclone to placebo use… (http://www.springerlink.com/content/fvch14w76br6crx1), for those that prefer studies to anecdotes…

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