Zaleplon

Zaleplon helps you fall asleep if you have difficulty falling asleep. After taking zaleplon, you may get up and do an activity such as drive, eat, and have sex while not fully awake.

Zaleplon Overview

Reviewed: September 14, 2012
Updated: 

Zaleplon is a prescription medication used to treat insomnia.

Zaleplon belongs to a group of drugs called sedatives or hypnotics. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.

This medication comes in capsule form. It is taken immediately before bedtime with a full glass of water.

Common side effects of Zaleplon are drowsiness, lightheadedness, and dizziness.

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Zaleplon Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Zaleplon

Zaleplon is a prescription medication used in adults for the short-term treatment of the symptom of trouble falling asleep from insomnia. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

 

Zaleplon Brand Names

Zaleplon may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Zaleplon Drug Class

Zaleplon is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Zaleplon

Serious side effects of Zaleplon include:

  • getting out of bed while not being fully awake and doing an activity that you do not know you are doing. (See "Drug Precautions".)
  • abnormal thoughts and behavior. Symptoms include more outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
  • memory loss
  • anxiety
  • severe allergic reactions. Symptoms include swelling of the tongue or throat, trouble breathing, and nausea and vomiting. Get emergency medical help if you get these symptoms after taking Zaleplon.

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the above side effects or any other side effects that worry you while using Zaleplon.

Common side effects of Zaleplon include:

  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • “pins and needles” feeling on your skin
  • difficulty with coordination
  • You may still feel drowsy the next day after taking Zaleplon. Do not drive or do other dangerous activities after taking Zaleplon until you feel fully awake.
  • You may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Zaleplon. Withdrawal symptoms include unpleasant feelings, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and rarely seizures. You may also have more trouble sleeping the first few nights after Zaleplon is stopped. The problem usually goes away on its own after 1 or 2 nights.

These are not all the side effects of Zaleplon. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Zaleplon Interactions

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Medicines can interact, sometimes causing side effects. Do not take zaleplon with other medicines that can make you sleepy.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist each time you get a new medicine.

Zaleplon Precautions

After taking zaleplon, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night. You have a higher chance for doing these activities if you drink alcohol or take other medicines that make you sleepy with zaleplon. Reported activities include:

  • driving a car (“sleep-driving”)
  • making and eating food
  • talking on the phone
  • having sex
  • sleep-walking

Important:

  1. Take zaleplon exactly as prescribed
    • Do not take more zaleplon than prescribed.
    • Take zaleplon right before you get in bed, not sooner.
  2. Do not take zaleplon if you:
    • drink alcohol
    • take other medicines that can make you sleepy. Talk to your doctor about all of your medicines. Your doctor will tell you if you can take zaleplon with your other medicines.
    • cannot get a full night's sleep
  3. Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have done any of the above activities after taking zaleplon.

Do not take zaleplon if you are allergic to zaleplon or any of its ingredients.

Inform MD

Before starting zaleplon, tell your doctor about all of your health conditions, including if you:

  • have a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts
  • have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction
  • have kidney or liver disease
  • have a lung disease or breathing problems
  • are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. 

Zaleplon and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if zaleplon will harm your unborn baby.

Zaleplon and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Zaleplon is excreted in human breast milk. It is recommended that nursing mothers not take zaleplon.

Zaleplon Usage

  • Take zaleplon exactly as prescribed. Do not take more zaleplon than prescribed for you.
  • Take Zaleplon right before you get into bed. Or you can take Zaleplon after you have been in bed and have trouble falling asleep.
  • Do not take zaleplon with or right after a meal.
  • Do not take zaleplon unless you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again.
  • Call your healthcare provider if your insomnia worsens or is not better within 7 to 10 days. This may mean that there is another condition causing your sleep problem.

Zaleplon Dosage

The dose of zaleplon should be individualized. The recommended dose of zaleplon for most nonelderly adults is 10 mg. For certain low weight individuals, 5 mg may be a sufficient dose. Doses above 20 mg have not been adequately evaluated and are not recommended.

Elderly patients and debilitated patients appear to be more sensitive to the effects of hypnotics, and respond to 5 mg of zaleplon. The recommended dose for these patients is therefore 5 mg. Doses over 10 mg are not recommended.

Patients with mild to moderate hepatic (liver) impairment should be treated with zaleplon 5 mg because clearance is reduced in this population. Zaleplon is not recommended for use in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

An starting dose of 5 mg should be given to patients taking cimetidine because zaleplon clearance is reduced in this population.

 

Zaleplon Overdose

If you take too much zaleplon, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

 

Other Requirements

Zaleplon is a federally controlled substance (C-IV) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep zaleplon in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away zaleplon may harm others, and is against the law. Tell your doctor if you have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.

  • Store Zaleplon at room temperature between 68° and 77°F (20° to 25°C).
  • Protect from light.
  • Keep Zaleplon and all medicines out of the reach of children.