Generic Name: zaleplon (ZAH le plon)
Brand Name: Sonata
Medically reviewed: September 19, 2016
What is zaleplon?
Zaleplon is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems (insomnia).
Zaleplon is used to treat insomnia. This medicine causes relaxation to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Zaleplon may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
To make sure zaleplon is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Zaleplon may be habit-forming. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION OR OVERDOSE, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away zaleplon is against the law.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to zaleplon.
To make sure zaleplon is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease;
sleep apnea (breathing stops while you are asleep);
a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts; or
a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
It is not known whether zaleplon will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
It is not known whether zaleplon passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
The sedative effects of zaleplon may be stronger in older adults. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
How should I take zaleplon?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Zaleplon will make you fall asleep. Never take this medication during your normal waking hours, unless you have at least 4 hours to dedicate to sleeping.
Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, or making phone calls and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens, stop taking zaleplon and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.
Avoid taking zaleplon within 1 hour after eating a high-fat or heavy meal. This will make it harder for your body to absorb the medication.
Zaleplon is for short-term use only. Do not take zaleplon for longer than 2 weeks without your doctor's advice.
Call your doctor if your insomnia symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse after using zaleplon for 7 to 10 nights in a row
Zaleplon may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION OR OVERDOSE, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away zaleplon is against the law.
Do not stop using zaleplon suddenly after taking it over several days in a row, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Zaleplon is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since zaleplon is usually taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. Never take this medication if you do not have at least 4 hours to sleep before being active again. Do not take extra medicine to make up a missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, confusion, loss of coordination, limp muscles, weak or shallow breathing, fainting.
What should I avoid while taking zaleplon?
Zaleplon can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. You may still feel sleepy the morning after taking the medication. Until you know how this medication will affect you during waking hours, be careful if you drive, operate machinery, pilot an airplane, or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur.
Avoid taking zaleplon during travel, such as to sleep on an airplane. You may be awakened before the effects of the medication have worn off. Amnesia (forgetfulness) is more common if you do not get at least 4 hours of sleep after taking zaleplon.
Zaleplon side effects
Zaleplon may cause a severe allergic reaction. Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; nausea and vomiting; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using zaleplon and call your doctor at once if you have:
aggression, agitation, changes in behavior;
anxiety, nervous feeling, depression, confusion, hallucinations;
bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing);
thoughts of hurting yourself; or
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.
Common side effects may include:
problems with memory or coordination;
numbness or tingling;
back pain, chest pain;
joint or muscle pain; or
mild itching or rash.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Zaleplon dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Insomnia:
-Initial Dose: 10 mg orally immediately before bedtime or after going to bed and experiencing difficulty falling asleep.
-Maximum Dose: 20 mg
Use: Short-term treatment of insomnia.
Usual Geriatric Dose for Insomnia:
-Initial Dose: 5 mg orally immediately before bedtime or after going to bed and experiencing difficulty falling asleep.
-Maximum Dose: 10 mg
Use: Short-term treatment of insomnia.
What other drugs will affect zaleplon?
Taking zaleplon with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with zaleplon, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.04.
More about zaleplon
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- Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics
Other brands: Sonata