Precautions and Warnings With Zaleplon

Learning the precautions and warnings with zaleplon before starting treatment can help minimize risks and assure that the sleep medication is suitable for you. You should not take zaleplon if you are allergic to the medicine or any components used in making it. Certain side effects may occur with the use of zaleplon, including changes in behavior, depression, and breathing problems.

Zaleplon: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking zaleplon (Sonata®) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
  • Are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Drink alcohol.
Also, tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may currently be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Zaleplon Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions with zaleplon to be aware of include:
  • Zaleplon can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Zaleplon).
  • If you drink alcohol, let your healthcare provider know prior to starting zaleplon. In general, people should not use alcohol when taking zaleplon because it can increase the risks of developing side effects (see Sonata and Alcohol).
  • Zaleplon can cause drowsiness and other sedating effects. Taking zaleplon with other medications that cause drowsiness can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Zaleplon is considered to be a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means that zaleplon may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking zaleplon if you are pregnant (see Sonata and Pregnancy).
  • Zaleplon passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about this.
  • Zaleplon is considered a sedative-hypnotic type of medication. If you notice any changes in your behavior, such as anything unusual or disturbing, while taking zaleplon or other sleep medicines, notify your healthcare provider immediately. As with most sedatives or hypnotics, withdrawal symptoms are possible if the drug is stopped suddenly (see Sonata Withdrawal).
  • Sedative-hypnotic medications (such as zaleplon) can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. An allergic reaction to zaleplon can occur even with your first dose of the drug. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as an unexplained rash, itching, hives, wheezing or trouble breathing, or unexplained swelling (especially of the throat, lips, or mouth).


  • There have been reports of "sleep-driving," "sleep-eating," or other unusual behaviors in people taking sedative-hypnotic medications. In general, people do not remember doing these things when they wake up in the morning. These activities can be dangerous, since people are not fully awake or alert.


  • Insomnia can be a sign of other physical or mental problems. If your insomnia does not improve within 7 to 10 days of taking zaleplon, talk to your healthcare provider about other insomnia causes that may be affecting you.
  • Because zaleplon works very quickly, it should be taken right before bedtime. After you have taken a dose of zaleplon, do not do anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving, operating machinery, or piloting an airplane. Taking zaleplon while staying awake can result in memory problems, hallucinations, and other problems.
  • Sleep medications sometimes have an effect on breathing. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking zaleplon if you have any lung problems, including COPD or sleep apnea.
  • Elderly people may be more sensitive to the effects of zaleplon and may need to be started at a lower dose (zaleplon 5 mg before bedtime).
  • If you have depression, talk to your healthcare provider before taking zaleplon, as depression can be a zaleplon side effect (see Sonata and Depression). Suicide is more common in people with depression, and some people may intentionally take a lethal overdose of zaleplon (see Suicide Risk With Zaleplon).
  • Zaleplon should not be used in people with severe liver problems, including liver failure or severe cirrhosis. People with mild or moderate liver problems should use a lower dose of zaleplon (5 mg before bedtime).
  • Zaleplon is a controlled substance and may be habit-forming. Abuse or dependence with zaleplon is more likely with higher doses used for long periods of time and is more likely to happen in people with a history of drug or alcohol addiction. If you have an addiction problem, talk to your healthcare provider before taking zaleplon (see Sonata Addiction).

Zaleplon Drug Info

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