Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a nonbenzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic used in the short term treatment of insomnia; administered orally.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.



Pharmacologic class: Pyrazolopyrimidine, nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic

Therapeutic class: Sedative-hypnotic

Controlled substance schedule IV

Pregnancy risk category C


Binds to omega-1 receptor of gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor complex, relaxing smooth muscles, reducing anxiety, and producing sedation. Also has anticonvulsant effect.


Capsules: 5 mg, 10 mg

Indications and dosages


Adults younger than age 65: 10 mg P.O. at bedtime. Dosage above 20 mg is not recommended.

Dosage adjustment

• Mild to moderate hepatic impairment

• Elderly or debilitated patients


• Hypersensitivity to drug or its components


Use cautiously in:

• tartrazine sensitivity

• severe renal impairment (use not recommended), mild to moderate hepatic impairment, respiratory impairment, depression

• history of suicide attempt

• patients weighing less than 50 kg (110 lb)

• patients older than age 65

• pregnant or breastfeeding patients (use not recommended)

• children younger than age 18 (safety not established).


• Give at bedtime.

• Don't administer with high-fat meal.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, amnesia, anxiety, hallucinations, light-headedness, dizziness, drowsiness, depersonalization, transient memory or psychomotor impairment, incoordination, malaise, vertigo, asthenia, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, tremor

CV: peripheral edema

EENT: abnormal vision, eye pain, ear pain, hearing sensitivity, epistaxis

GI: nausea, abdominal pain, colitis, dyspepsia, anorexia

GU: dysmenorrhea

Musculoskeletal: myalgia

Skin: photosensitivity

Other: altered sense of smell, fever


Drug-drug. Cimetidine: decreased metabolism and increased effects of zaleplon

CNS depressants (including antihistamines, opioids, other sedative-hypnotics, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants): additive CNS depression

CYP450-3A4 inducers (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin): decreased blood level and reduced efficacy of zaleplon

CYP450-3A4 inhibitors (such as erythromycin, ketoconazole): increased zaleplon blood level

Drug-food. High-fat meal: delayed drug absorption

Drug-herbs. Chamomile, hops, kava, skullcap, valerian: increased CNS depression

Drug-behaviors. Alcohol use: increased CNS depression

Patient monitoring

• Monitor drug efficacy. Insomnia persisting after 7 to 10 days warrants reevaluation for underlying psychological or physical illness.

• Stay alert for adverse drug reactions.

Patient teaching

• Explain therapy to patient. Emphasize importance of taking drug just before bedtime or after trying to sleep-but only if he will be able to get at least 4 hours of sleep.

• Inform patient that high-fat meal slows drug absorption and delays drug effects.

• Caution patient to avoid driving and other hazardous activities while under drug's influence.

• Instruct patient to avoid alcohol during therapy.

• Tell patient rebound insomnia may occur for 1 or 2 nights after he stops taking drug.

• Advise female of childbearing age to notify prescriber if she is or plans to become pregnant or if she is breastfeeding.

• As appropriate, review all other significant adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, foods, herbs, and behaviors mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


A sedative drug used to treat insomnia.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Sonata®, see there.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Meta-analyses of hypnotics and infections: Eszopiclone, ramelteon, zaleplon, and zolpidem.
The most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine for RLS is clonazepam (Klonopin) while eszopiclone (Lunesta), zolpidem (Ambien) and zaleplon (Sonata) are considered 'benzodiazepine receptor agonists'.
Becaue of the abuse and addictive potential of benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepine sedative/hypnotic drugs (including zolpidem, eszopiclone and zaleplon) have been approved for the short-term treatment of insomnia.
Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (i.e., benzodiazepine receptor agonists), such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), have thus far proven effective in the treatment of insomnia.
Comparison of the effects of zaleplon, zolpidem, and triazolam on memory, learning, and psychomotor performance.
Research suggests that selective short-acting nonbenzodiazepines [type-1 [gamma]-aminobutyric acid (GABA) benzodiazepine receptor agonists; e.g., eszopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem, zolpidem ER (extended release)] and melatonin receptor agonists (e.g., ramelteon) are safe and effective for older adults (35-38).
Benzodiazepinler den: flurozepam, triazolam, quazepam, estezolam, temezapam ve nondiazepinlerden: zolpidepam, zaleplon, eszopiclone FDA tarafindan insomnia tedavisinde onaylamistir.
But Michael was taking up to 30 drugs including diprivan, oxycontin, demerol, percocet, ramelton, zaleplon, esziopiclone zolpidem, paladone, luvux, dexedrine, vorozac, aminorex, desoxyn, didrex, celebrex, ditroplan, hydroquinone, diprovan, hydrodiuril.
* Non-benzodiazepine "Z-drugs" (so called because the first three non-benzodiazepine drugs to enter the market were zopiclone, zolpidem and zaleplon) with faster onset of action and shorter half-lives than the benzodiazepines (this is the fastest growing drug class, including the three top-selling insomnia drugs)
Prescription sleeping medications such as Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Remeron (ramelteon) and Sonata (zaleplon) may also be used to induce sleep.