Uses of Zaleplon

Zaleplon is a short-term treatment for insomnia (difficulty falling asleep). As a hypnotic, it slows brain activity to help you fall asleep. It does not, however, cause you to sleep longer or decrease the number of times you awaken during the night.

Side Effects Of Zaleplon

Zaleplon may cause side effects. Consult your doctor if these symptoms persist or are severe:

  • distorted sense of smell
  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of coordination
  • sensitivity to noise
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • vision problems or eye pain
  • unusually painful menstrual periods

Some side effects can be serious. Seek treatment immediately if you experience the following:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • rash/hives
  • itching
  • loss of voice
  • rash/hives
  • swollen face, eyes, lips, throat, or tongue,

Zaleplon may cause other side effects. Call your physician if you experience anything unusual while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking zaleplon:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any medications (including aspirin), tartrazine (a yellow food dye), or any of the ingredients in zaleplon capsules. (Your pharmacist will have a list of ingredients.)
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist about any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) or supplements you are taking. It is especially important to mention antihistamines [e.g., diphenhydramine (Benadryl), promethazine]; barbiturates; cimetidine (Tagamet); cough/cold medicines; erythromycin; ibuprofen; imipramine (Tofranil); ketoconazole (Nizoral); medications for allergies, depression, or mental illness (e.g., thioridazine); seizures medications [e.g., phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Epitol, Tegretol, others), phenobarbital]; pain relievers; promethazine (Promethegan); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); and sedatives, other sleeping pills, or tranquilizers.
  • tell your doctor if you do or used to consume large amounts of alcohol, take street drugs, or abuse prescription medications.
  • tell your doctor if you have ever considered or attempted killing yourself and if you have ever been diagnosed with depression, mental illness, seizures, and kidney, liver, or lung disease.
  • tell your doctor if you hoping to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Call your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking zaleplon.
  • talk to your doctor about the risks/benefits of taking zaleplon if you are at least 65 years of age. It is usually not as effective or safe for older adults.
  • tell your doctor or dentist if you are planning to have surgery, including dental procedures, while taking zaleplon.
  • you should know that this medication may cause drowsiness, confusion, slow reaction times, coordination issues, blurry or double vision, and increased fall risk. It may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery, activities from which you should refrain until you know how the medication affects you.
  • do not drink alcohol while taking zaleplon, as doing so may worsen side effects.
  • you should know that zaleplon may affect your mental health. Call your doctor immediately if you experience aggressiveness, confusion, strange or unusually outgoing behavior, hallucinations, out-of-body sensations, new or worsening depression, or thoughts of suicide. Make sure others know of the seriousness of these symptoms in the event that you are unable to call your physician yourself.

Dosage Of Zaleplon

Zaleplon is a capsule to be taken orally as needed at bedtime or after failing to fall asleep. Do not take your medication soon after a heavy, high-fat meal, as this may decrease its effectiveness. Always take zaleplon exactly as directed as it can be habit-forming.

You should quickly become sleepy after taking zaleplon, so go to bed for 7 or 8 hours straightaway. Do not take the medicine if you are unable to sleep for an adequate amount of time. You may experience side effects if you get up too soon or go to bed too late after taking the capsule.

Consult your physician if your insomnia worsens or does not improve within 7 to 10 days of beginning treatment.

Do not suddenly stop taking zaleplon to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms (e.g., unpleasant feelings, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, seizures). Instead, gradually decrease the dose under your doctor’s supervision.

After stopping treatment, you may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep, but this should soon fade.


Keep all appointments with your doctor, as zaleplon is a controlled substance and prescription refills are limited.

Do not allow someone else to take this medication.