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Zaleplon Side Effects

In Summary

More frequently reported side effects include: amnesia and dizziness. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to zaleplon: oral capsule

As well as its needed effects, zaleplon may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking zaleplon, check with your doctor immediately:

Less common:
  • Anxiety
  • blurred or double vision
  • not feeling like oneself
  • Nosebleed
  • seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling things that are not there

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking zaleplon, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Confusion
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness, severe
  • dizziness or fainting
  • drowsiness, severe
  • weak muscle tone
  • troubled breathing
  • unusual dullness or feeling sluggish

Minor Side Effects

Some zaleplon side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Dizziness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
Less common:
  • Abdominal pain
  • burning, prickling, or tingling sensation
  • constipation
  • cough
  • difficulty concentrating
  • drowsiness
  • dryness of mouth
  • excess muscle tone
  • eye pain
  • fever
  • heartburn, indigestion, or acid stomach
  • itching
  • itching or burning eyes
  • joint stiffness and/or pain
  • memory loss
  • menstrual pain
  • mental depression
  • nervousness
  • sensitive hearing
  • severe headache
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • tightness in chest
  • trembling or shaking
  • troubled breathing
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • wheezing

Side Effects: Post Treatment

After you stop taking this drug, it is possible that you may still experience side effects that need medical attention. If you notice any of the following side effects check with your doctor immediately:

  • Abdominal and muscle cramps
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • increased sweating
  • sadness
  • trembling or shaking
  • vomiting

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to zaleplon: oral capsule

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (42%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, amnesia, confusion, hypertonia, hypesthesia, paresthesia, somnolence, tremor, vertigo, migraine, taste perversion
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal gait, ataxia, circumoral paresthesia, hyperesthesia, hyperkinesia, hypotonia, incoordination, neuralgia, nystagmus
Rare (less than 0.1%): CNS stimulation, cerebral ischemia, dysarthria, dystonia, facial paralysis, hypokinesia, myoclonus, neuropathy, psychomotor retardation, decreased reflexes, increased reflexes, slurred speech, stupor
Frequency not reported: Seizures[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus, rash
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ecchymosis, acne, alopecia, contact dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, maculopapular rash, skin hypertrophy, sweating, urticaria, vesiculobullous rash
Rare (less than 0.1%): Purpura, melanosis, psoriasis, pustular rash, skin discoloration


Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, abdominal pain, colitis, constipation, dry mouth, dyspepsia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Eructation, esophagitis, flatulence, gastritis, gastroenteritis, gingivitis, glossitis, mouth ulceration, stomatitis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Aphthous stomatitis, bruxism, cardiospasm, cheilitis, cholelithiasis, duodenal ulcer, dysphagia, enteritis, gum hemorrhage, increased salivation, intestinal obstruction, peptic ulcer, tongue discoloration, tongue edema, ulcerative stomatitis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Dysmenorrhea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast pain, rectal hemorrhage, bladder pain, melena, cystitis, decreased urine stream, dysuria, hematuria, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, urinary frequency, urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, vaginitis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Albuminuria, delayed menstrual period, leukorrhea, menopause, urethritis, urinary retention, vaginal hemorrhage[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased appetite, gout, hypercholesteremia, weight gain
Rare (less than 0.1%): Weight loss[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Back pain, arthralgia, arthritis, myalgia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Neck rigidity, arthrosis, bursitis, joint disorder (mainly swelling, stiffness, pain), myasthenia, tenosynovitis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Myositis, osteoporosis, trismus[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Abnormal vision, eye pain, conjunctivitis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Diplopia, dry eyes, photophobia, watery eyes
Rare (less than 0.1%): Ptosis, abnormality of accommodation, blepharitis, cataract specified, corneal erosion, eye hemorrhage, glaucoma, retinal detachment, visual field defect[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, malaise, photosensitivity reaction, peripheral edema, ear pain, hyperacusis, parosmia, chest pain, fever
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Substernal chest pain, chills, face edema, generalized edema, hangover effect, tinnitus, thirst[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depersonalization, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, nervousness, abnormal thinking (mainly difficulty concentrating)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Agitation, emotional lability, apathy, euphoria, insomnia, decreased libido, impotence
Rare (less than 0.1%): Delusions, hostility, sleep talking, sleep walking
Postmarketing reports: Nightmares


Common (1% to 10%): Epistaxis, bronchitis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Asthma, dyspnea, laryngitis, pneumonia, snoring, voice alteration
Rare (less than 0.1%): Pulmonary embolus, apnea, hiccup, hyperventilation, pleural effusion, increased sputum[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Angina pectoris, bundle branch block, hypertension, hypotension, palpitation, syncope, tachycardia, vasodilation, ventricular extrasystoles
Rare (less than 0.1%): Bigeminy, cyanosis, pericardial effusion, postural hypotension, sinus bradycardia, thrombophlebitis, ventricular tachycardia


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anemia, lymphadenopathy
Rare (less than 0.1%): Eosinophilia, leukocytosis, lymphocytosis


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Kidney calculus, kidney pain


Rare (less than 0.1%): Diabetes mellitus, goiter, hypothyroidism


Rare (less than 0.1%): Abnormal liver function tests, bilirubinemia, increased AST (SGOT), increased ALT (SGPT), biliary pain


Postmarketing reports: Anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions


1. "Product Information. Sonata (zaleplon)" Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

It is possible that some side effects of zaleplon may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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