Washington DC: A new report has warned against the addictive sleeping tablets that are easier to buy illegally online than ever.
The prescription only sleeping tablet zopiclone, that can become addictive if used for more than a few weeks, is easily available online, warn experts.
Paul Dargan and colleagues from the clinical toxicology unit at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, say regulatory authorities must take measures to ensure that these websites comply with medicines and other regulations for the supply of this prescription only drug.
The use of Z drugs has recently increased; in 2013-14, zopiclone was the sixth most common drug among enquiries to the UK National Poisons Information Service's online database, TOXBASE.
The authors describe how they recently managed a patient whose overdose of 100 tablets of 7.5mg zopiclone, reportedly purchased from an internet site without prescription, highlights these problems.
In 2014, zopiclone was controlled in the UK as Class C, schedule IV part 1 drug, owing to concerns about dependence and potential for misuse. Yet despite this, zopiclone is available from internet sites without prescription, write the authors.
Regulatory authorities need to ensure that appropriate measures are taken so that these websites comply with medicines and other regulations for the supply of this prescription only medicine, they conclude.
The study is published in The BMJ.