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Zaleplon is a short-term treatment for insomnia. This is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Zaleplon is a type of medicine called a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic. It works on certain centers in the brain to relax you and help you fall asleep faster. 

Insomnia may be characterized based on its duration. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep. This is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep or cause you to wake up too early and can’t go back to sleep anymore. Insomnia can affect not only your mood and energy level but as well as your quality of life, work performance, health. This can last from 1 night to a few weeks. It is chronic if it occurs at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. Insomnia symptoms may include: 

  • Waking up during the night
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • After a night’s sleep, you may not be feeling well-rested 
  • Waking up too early
  • Daytime sleepiness or tiredness 
  • Trouble focusing on tasks or in paying attention
  • Depression, irritability, or anxiety
  • Ongoing worries about sleep
  • Increased errors or accidents 

Common causes of this condition may include:

  • Stress – concerns about school, work, finances, health, or family can keep your mind active at night and makes it difficult to sleep. 
  • Work or travel schedule – the one that acts as an internal clock which guides your metabolism, sleep-wake cycle, and body temperature is your circadian rhythms
  • Poor sleep habits – this includes an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using the bed for eating, work, or watching TV. Video games, computers, or smartphones just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle. 
  • Eating too much late in the evening – taking a snack before bedtime is fine. But, eating excessively can cause you to feel physically uncomfortable. Several people may experience heartburn which may keep them awake. 

Zaleplon comes as a capsule for oral administration. Each capsule is available in the dosage strengths of 5 mg and 10 mg. 

How does Zaleplon work?

Zaleplon acts in the brain to aid sleep. This acts specifically on receptors in the brain called GABA-A receptors. Wherein, it causes the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain. It acts as a natural nerve-calming agent. It aids to keep the nerve motion in brain instability. It is also involved in decreasing anxiety, relaxing muscles, and sleepiness. 

Zaleplon lessens the time taken to fall asleep and increases the total amount of time spent sleeping. Still, it is only appropriate for short-term treatment of insomnia. As when used for longer periods, it has a potential for dependence and addiction. It may take 20 to 30 minutes before this medication starts working. They can also be sedating for up to 8 hours. 

How to use Zaleplon?

Zaleplon is to be taken just before going to bed at night. This medicine is not taken after a big meal as recommended. It can delay the time it takes for it to get into the blood. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Since Zaleplon is usually prescribed for a short time, your doctor will tell you when to stop taking it or when to cut back. 

Take Zaleplon by mouth with a full glass of water. Swallow the capsule as a whole. This medication works very quickly so it’s important to take it just before or when you get into bed. Your doctor will inform and work with you to find the dose that fits for you. Within 2 hours, you must not eat a high-fat meal before taking this medication. It may prevent the drug from working well. Do not take it more often, increase your dose, or use it for a longer time than prescribed. Appropriately stop the prescription if your doctor tells you to do so. Inform your doctor if your condition gets worse or does not improve. If you missed a dose, call your doctor for instructions. Do not double the dosage to make up for the missed dose. 

What are the side effects of Zaleplon?

Common side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory or concentration 
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Hangover feeling
  • Lack of coordination especially during the first 2 hours after taking the medicine
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Nervous feeling
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Problems with vision 
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild skin rash
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Increased menstrual pain or cramps 

Call your doctor right away if these side effects occur:

  • Unusual behavior 
  • Mental/mood changes (confusion, agitation, rare thoughts of suicide, or hearing/seeing things that aren’t there)

Call for medical help right away if there are any signs of an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of your face, lips, throat, or tongue)

Warnings and Precautions 

  • Let your doctor know if you have an allergic reaction to Zaleplon before or if you have any allergies. This drug may have any ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. 
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications including vitamins, herbal, or food supplements. 
  • If you drink or have ever drunk a large amount of alcohol, tell your doctor before taking Zaleplon. 
  • If you are having any surgery including dental surgery, inform your doctor that you are taking Zaleplon.
  • Zaleplon should be used with caution in elderly people, those with a history of alcoholism, decreased liver or kidney function, long-term breathing problems, or people suffering from depression. 
  • Zaleplon should not be used in children or adolescents under 18 years old, people with myasthenia gravis, sleep apnoea, or a rare hereditary disorder of galactose intolerance. 
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding women talk with your doctor first before taking Zaleplon. This drug might affect the development of an unborn baby and this may not be suitable for breast milk. 
  • This can also cause drowsiness. For this reason, do not drive or operate any machinery, wait until you know how Zaleplon affects you.