An estimated 60 million Americans have a sleep disorder, NPR reports. People who struggle with insomnia know well how hard it can be to find the best medication to help them get to sleep and stay asleep. Some drugs only provide a short amount of sleep, and other products offer a longer time in sleep, while different sleep aids can be used for a short amount of time.
While a range of sleep medications is available, from prescription to over-the-counter remedies and supplements, mirtazapine and zopiclone are two that come up.
The question is: which is stronger – mirtazapine or zopiclone?
Below, we offer information about both medications and provide feedback to help people learn more about both.
Zopiclone is a nonbenzodiazepine medication used for insomnia. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows down the CNS so that the individual can get to sleep and stay asleep. It is in a class of medicines called sedative-hypnotics. This particular drug typically starts working within an hour of taking it. It is best to take it immediately before going to bed.
Sleep medicines are meant to be taken every night for no longer than two weeks. If taken longer, their effectiveness is usually reduced and can cause addiction.
Zopiclone is a federally controlled substance listed under Schedule IV, which means it has a low potential for abuse compared to drugs listed under Schedules I through III. It also means you cannot get it without a prescription.
It should be mentioned that zopiclone (brand names Zimovane™ and Imovane™) is not sold in the U.S. A similar, generic medication eszopiclone is sold. It is better known by its brand name Lunesta™.
Zopiclone and eszopiclone are often thought of as one. They are both nonbenzodiazepine drugs, which are very much alike. Both are prescribed as sleep aids for people who struggle with insomnia. Eszopiclone is thought to increase gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical in the brain that slows down the activity in the brain.
Mirtazapine is an antidepressant. It is not known how this drug works, but it is thought to affect communication between nerve cells in the CNS and may restore chemical balance in the brain. It can be obtained by the brand names Remeron™ and Remeron SolTab™. This drug may be used “off-label” to treat insomnia.
When mirtazapine is prescribed for insomnia, some users have said it worked well. Reviews of people who have taken it have said it helped them get to sleep and stay asleep. Users report it helps them fall asleep within 30 minutes of taking and stay asleep between seven to nine hours. Some have also reported feeling groggy the next day.
Which Drug Is Stronger?
Both zopiclone and mirtazapine can be used to treat insomnia. While zopiclone and its similar eszopiclone are commonly called “Z-drugs,” they contain warnings about complex sleep behaviors. Both can help someone with insomnia get to sleep faster and stay asleep. Both can be obtained only by prescription.
Mirtazapine is classified as an antidepressant. However, it can be prescribed for people with insomnia.
Eszopiclone doses for adults range between 1 milligram (mg) to 3 mg. Three-milligram doses have shown that the medication can remain in the bloodstream overnight and cause daytime drowsiness.
Mirtazapine is usually prescribed in a 7.5 mg dose. It also can be given in small doses.
If you compare the user reviews on Drugs.com for both mirtazapine and eszopiclone, it seems that mirtazapine is the stronger and more effective medicine.
It is imperative to know that these two drugs should not be taken together, as both have capabilities to cause CNS depression. Always consult with your doctor before taking a sleep aid.