Zopiclone, Zaleplon and Zolpidem


‘Z drug’ pharmacodynamics are almost entirely the same as benzodiazepine drugs and therefore offer similar benefits, side effects and risks. Non-benzodiazepines, however, have different chemical structures and therefore are unrelated to benzodiazepines on a molecular level.

There are three primary groups of Z drugs, all of which can be labelled non-benzodiazepines. Listed below are three distinct groups of CNS

• Imidazopyridines -- zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Stilnox)
• Cyclopyrrolones -- zopiclone (Imovane, Zimovane, Imrest)
• Pyrazolopyrimidines -- zaleplon (Sonata, Starnoc)

The group has an enhanced affinity for receptor action, but if people are looking for relief from sleeplessness often prompted by anxiety and intolerable stress it is not unlikely they will attach to any substance that offers them relief. Like benzodiazepines, ‘Z drugs’ target the benzodiazepine subtype of the GABA-a receptor complex, exerting an anti- excitatory, calming effect in the brain.