This medication is used for a short time to treat people who have trouble falling asleep. If you have other sleep problems such as not being able to sleep through the night, this medication may not be right for you. Zaleplon is known as a hypnotic. It works on certain centers in the brain to relax you and help you fall asleep faster.
How to use
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking zaleplon and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. Zaleplon works very quickly, so it is important to take it just before or when you get into bed. Your doctor will work with you to find the smallest dose that works for you.
Zaleplon should not be used for naps. Do not take a dose of this drug unless you have time for a full night’s sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours. If you have to wake up before that, you may have some memory loss and may have trouble safely doing any activity that requires alertness, such as driving or operating machinery.
You should not eat a very heavy/high-fat meal within 2 hours before taking this medication since doing so may prevent the drug from working properly.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy. Since this medication is usually prescribed for a short time, your doctor will tell you when to stop taking it or when to cut back.
You may feel anxious or have trouble falling asleep in the first day or two after stopping this medication (rebound insomnia). Contact your doctor if you continue to have trouble falling asleep several days after stopping zaleplon.
Dizziness, drowsiness, short-term memory loss, or lack of coordination may occur, especially during the first 2 hours after you take the medication. Taking the medication properly just before falling asleep will reduce your risk of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, confusion, seeing/hearing things that are not there, rare thoughts of suicide), unusual behavior.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking zaleplon, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems, very high/low blood pressure, breathing problems (e.g., asthma), depression, personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: melatonin, sodium oxybate.
Other medications can affect the removal of zaleplon from your body, which may affect how zaleplon works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole), cimetidine, rifamycins (such as rifabutin, rifampin), drugs used to treat seizures (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin), among others.
The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also cause drowsiness or breathing problems. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), other drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).