|Zaleplon Zaleplon

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Generic name: Zaleplon
Brand names: Sonata

Why is Zaleplon prescribed?

Zaleplon is prescribed for people who have trouble falling asleep at bedtime. Because it has a short duration of action, it doesn"t help those who suffer from frequent awakenings during the night or those who wake too early in the morning. It is intended only for short-term use (7 to 10 days).

Most important fact about Zaleplon

Problems with sleep are usually temporary and require only short-term treatment with medication. Call your doctor immediately if it seems the medication is making the problem worse, or if you notice any unusual changes in your thinking or behavior, such as hallucinations, amnesia, agitation, or a lack of inhibition. The emergence of new symptoms could be a sign of an undiagnosed medical or psychiatric condition.

How should you take Zaleplon?

Zaleplon is very fast-acting and should be taken only at bedtime.

--If you miss a dose...

Take Zaleplon only when you"re ready to sleep. Never double your dose.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a light-resistant container.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Zaleplon.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal pain, amnesia, dizziness, drowsiness, eye pain, headache, memory loss, menstrual pain, nausea, sleepiness, tingling, weakness

Why should Zaleplon not be prescribed?

Zaleplon is not recommended for people with severe liver disease and is best avoided during pregnancy. Do not take it if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. It contains the coloring agent FD&C Yellow No. 5, which causes a reaction in some individuals. This allergic reaction is more likely in people who are sensitive to aspirin.

Special warnings about Zaleplon

Do not take Zaleplon unless you plan to be in bed for at least four hours after taking it. If you need to be alert and active in less than four hours, your performance could be impaired. Never attempt to drive a car or operate other dangerous machinery right after taking Zaleplon.

Use Zaleplon only for temporary relief of insomnia; sleep medicines tend to lose their effect when taken for more than a few weeks. Remember, too, that taking sleeping pills for extended periods or in high doses can lead to physical dependence and the danger of a withdrawal reaction when the drug is abruptly stopped. Be especially wary if you"ve ever had addiction problems with alcohol or other drugs.

Severe allergic reactions--including life-threatening ones that can cause severe breathing problems--have been reported and may require immediate medical care. Signs of a severe reaction include agitation, difficulty breathing, sudden drop in blood pressure, fainting, tingling sensations, itchy and flushed skin, hives, and swelling. If you are allergic to FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), you"ll probably want to avoid Zaleplon, which contains this substance.

The safety and effectiveness of Zaleplon have not been studied in children.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Zaleplon

Avoid alcoholic beverages when taking Zaleplon; the drug increases alcohol"s effect. Also forgo high-fat meals immediately before taking Zaleplon; they tend to slow or reduce the drug"s effect.

If Zaleplon is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Zaleplon with the following:

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Cimetidine (Tagamet)
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Imipramine (Tofranil)
Rifampin (Rifadin)
Thioridazine (Mellaril)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Zaleplon can affect a developing baby, especially during the last weeks before delivery, and is therefore not recommended for use during pregnancy. This drug also appears in breast milk and should not be used if you are nursing your baby.

Recommended dosage


The usual dose is 10 milligrams taken once daily at bedtime. Your doctor may adjust the dose to your individual need, especially if you are in a weakened condition or have a low body weight. A dose of 5 milligrams is recommended if you have liver disease or use the drug cimetidine.


The usual dose for older adults is 5 milligrams, as they may be more sensitive to the effects of Zaleplon.


An overdose of drugs such as Zaleplon can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Symptoms of Zaleplon overdose may include:
    Drowsiness, mental confusion, grogginess, lack of coordination, flaccid muscles, labored breathing, coma

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