zaleplon, Sonata

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY: There are no studies of zaleplon in pregnant women. In studies in rats, damage to fetuses were reported. Therefore, zaleplon is not recommended for pregnant women unless the physician feels the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

A small amount of zaleplon is excreted in breast milk. Because the effects of zaleplon on nursing infants are unknown, it is recommended that nursing mothers not take zaleplon.

DOSING: The recommended dose is 5 to 20 mg at bedtime for assistance in falling asleep. Because of its short duration of activity, it is not effective for persons who wake up during the night. Zaleplon should be taken immediately before bedtime or after going to bed and experiencing difficulty falling asleep. Taking zaleplon with a high-fat meal slows its absorption and may also slow its onset of action.

STORAGE: Capsules should be stored at room temperature, between 20 C - 25 C (68 F - 77 F).

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Zaleplon is a hypnotic (a medication that induces sleep) that is used for treating insomnia. It is chemically unrelated to the benzodiazepine class of medications for sleep, for example, lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), flurazepam (Dalmane), triazolam (Halcion), and temazepam (Restoril), but it has similar effects because it attaches to the same receptors on nerve cells as these well-known medications. It was approved by the FDA in 1999.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/5/2016
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