Generic Name: zaleplon (ZAH le plon)Brand Names: Sonata
Zaleplon is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. It affects chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced and cause sleep problems (insomnia).
Zaleplon is used to treat insomnia. This medication causes relaxation to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Zaleplon may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
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 to you, stop taking zaleplon and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.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 while you are taking zaleplon. It can increase some of the side effects of zaleplon, including drowsiness. Zaleplon may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Zaleplon should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
You may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking zaleplon after taking it over several days in a row. Do not stop taking zaleplon suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.
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 to you, stop taking zaleplon and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.Do not use this medication if you are allergic to zaleplon.
Before taking zaleplon, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts; or
a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take zaleplon.FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Zaleplon can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
The sedative effects of zaleplon may be stronger in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take sedatives. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking zaleplon.Zaleplon may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Zaleplon should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Take zaleplon only if you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again. Never take this medication during your normal waking hours, unless you have at least 4 hours to dedicate to sleeping.Take zaleplon with a full glass of water.
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. Tell your doctor if your insomnia symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse after using this medication for 7 to 10 nights in a row. Do not take zaleplon for longer than 2 weeks without your doctor's advice.
You may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking zaleplon after taking it over several days in a row. Do not stop taking zaleplon suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.Store zaleplon at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of how many capsules have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Zaleplon is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.
See also: Zaleplon dosage in more detail
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.
Overdose symptoms may include sleepiness, confusion, shallow breathing, feeling light-headed, fainting, or coma.
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.
aggression, agitation, changes in behavior;
thoughts of hurting yourself; or
hallucinations (hearing or seeing things).
Less serious side effects may include:
day-time drowsiness, dizziness, "hangover" feeling;
problems with memory or concentration;
numbness or tingling;
anxiety, depression, nervous feeling;
problems with vision;
nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, constipation;
increased menstrual pain (cramps);
back pain, joint or muscle pain; or
mild skin rash.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for Insomnia:
5 to 20 mg orally immediately before bedtime or after the patient has gone to bed and has experienced difficulty falling asleep.Doses above 20 mg have not been adequately evaluated and are not recommended.
Usual Geriatric Dose for Insomnia:
Elderly patients and debilitated patients appear to be more sensitive to the effects of hypnotics, and respond to 5 mg of zaleplon. Doses over 10 mg are not recommended.
Before taking zaleplon, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:
promethazine (Phenergan, Promacot);
cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane);
antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Nizoral);
antidepressants such as imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), or sertraline (Zoloft); or
narcotic pain medications, muscle relaxers, seizure medications, or anti-anxiety medications.
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with zaleplon. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.