Reviewed on 3/28/2022

What Is Zaleplon and How Does It Work?

Zaleplon is a prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

  • Zaleplon is available under the following different brand names: Sonata

What Are Dosages of Zaleplon?

Adult dosage

Capsule: Schedule IV

  • 5mg
  • 10mg


Adult dosage

  • 10 mg orally every night during bedtime initially; 5 mg may be sufficient for low weight individuals; 20 mg may be needed for an occasional patient that does not benefit from a lower dose
  • Range: 5-20 mg/day

Geriatric dosage

  • 5 mg orally every night during bedtime; not to exceed 10 mg/day

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows: 

  • See “Dosages”

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zaleplon?

Common side effects of Zaleplon include:

  • day-time drowsiness,
  • dizziness, 
  • "hangover" feeling,
  • feeling light-headed,
  • problems with coordination; or
  • numbness,
  • tingling, or prickly feeling on the skin.

Serious side effects of Zaleplon include:

  • anxiety, 
  • depression, 
  • aggression,
  • agitation,
  • memory problems, 
  • unusual thoughts or behavior,
  • thoughts of hurting yourself, or
  • confusion, hallucinations (hearing or seeing things).

Rare side effects of Zaleplon include:

  • none 
This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems that may occur as a result of the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What is insomnia? See Answer

What Other Drugs Interact with Zaleplon?

If your medical doctor is using this medicine to treat your pain, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for any drug interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Zaleplon?


  • Hypersensitivity
  • Severe hepatic impairment
  • Patients who have experienced complex sleep behaviors after taking zaleplon

Effects of drug abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zaleplon?”

Long-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zaleplon?”


  • Use caution in hepatic impairment
  • Amnesia may occur
  • Use caution in patients with respiratory diseases or patients experiencing clinical depression (condition may worsen)
  • Therapy can cause drowsiness and a decreased level of consciousness; patients, particularly the elderly, are at higher risk of falls
  • In primarily depressed patients treated with sedative-hypnotics, worsening of depression, including suicidal thoughts and actions (including completed suicides), reported
  • Post-marketing reports have shown complex sleep behaviors may occur with drugs alone at recommended dosages, with or without the concomitant use of alcohol or other central nervous systems (CNS) depressants
  • Dosage adjustments of drug and other concomitant CNS depressants may be necessary when drugs are administered with such agents because of potentially additive effects
  • Use with other sedative-hypnotics at bedtime or in the middle of the night is not recommended
  • The risk of next-day psychomotor impairment, including impaired driving, is increased if the drug is taken with less than a full night of sleep remaining (7 to 8 hours); if a higher than recommended dose is taken; if coadministered with other CNS depressants or alcohol; or if coadministered with other drugs that increase blood levels of zaleplon; warn patients against driving and other activities requiring complete mental alertness if drug taken in these circumstances
  • Signs and symptoms associated with withdrawal from other CNS depressant drugs reported following a rapid dose decrease or abrupt discontinuation of use of sedative/hypnotics

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks during pregnancy


  • Small amount secreted in breast milk, not recommended


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