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.
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. If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as unusual depressed/anxious mood, stomach/muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, or seizures). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used zaleplon for a long time (more than a few weeks) or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal. Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or use it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
See also Warning section. 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. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include confusion, loss of coordination, slow/shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness.