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Zaleplon is used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep).

How it works

Zaleplon belongs to a class of drugs called nonbenzodiazepines. It works by balancing the chemical activity in the brain and helps to fall asleep.

Common side effects

Nervousness, Rash, Altered taste, Anxiety, Joint pain, Back pain, Chest pain, Conjunctivitis, Constipation, Depression, Dry mouth, Fever, Impaired concentration, Indigestion, Migraine, Muscle pain


Expert advice

  • Inform your doctor if you suffering from sleep apnea (common disorder that causes breathing to stops while sleeping); lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis (inflammation of air passages), emphysema (lung disorder in which the flow of air to the lungs is blocked), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; lung disorder in which the flow of air to the lungs is blocked) or other breathing problems.
  • Take special precautions if you have a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts, drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Never share this medicine with another person, especially with someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Take extreme caution while taking zaleplon as it can be habit-forming, even at regular doses. 
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you develop sleep-related behaviors such as driving a car (sleep-driving), walking (sleep-walking), having sex, making phone calls, or preparing and eating food while asleep or not fully awake. 
  • Do not drive or operate machinery as zaleplon makes you feel sleepy.
  • Do not drink alcohol along with zaleplon as it may worsen its side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is zaleplon a benzodiazepine?
Zaleplon is a hypnotic agent with a chemical structure unrelated to benzodiazepines.

Q. Does zaleplon contain aspirin?
 It does not contain aspirin.
Q. Is zaleplon addictive or a controlled substance or narcotic? 
Yes, zaleplon is a controlled substance and can be addictive, even at regular doses. 
Q. Is zaleplon safe?
Zaleplon is safe if used at prescribed dose and duration as advised by your doctor.
Please follow your doctor’s advice regarding its use. 
Q. Is zaleplon like zolpidem (Ambien)?
Zaleplon and zolpidem are hypnotics used for sleeplessness with unrelated chemical structure. Though they work by acting specifically on receptors in the brain called GABA-A receptors, their effects are different.
Q. Does zaleplon cause weight gain or hair loss?
Weight gain and hair loss are rare or uncommon side effects of zaleplon. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience one or more such symptoms and stop taking zaleplon immediately.

Content on this page was last updated on 17 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)