What is zaleplon?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Zaleplon (Sonata) is FDA-approved for treating people with insomnia that involves difficulty falling asleep. It works quickly and then wears off quickly, so it is does not help you stay asleep. But it causes less next-day grogginess than longer-acting sleep aids. It is not meant to be used nightly for long periods of time.

Zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon all work in a similar but more focused way than benzodiazepines, and are less likely to cause side effects. They are also less likely to lose effectiveness when taken for many nights in a row and less likely to be habit-forming. But these problems are still concerns. They can also make insomnia worse when a person abruptly stops taking them, a condition called rebound insomnia. These drugs should be taken for as little time as possible. 

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