Sonata – Zaleplon

Sonata is a sedative/hypnotic drug that is often prescribed for treatment of insomnia by affecting the chemicals in the brain that can become imbalanced and lead to sleeping problems. A non-benzodiazepine sleep aid, Sonata acts quickly, usually in about 10-20 minutes, to promote sleepiness.

The effects of Sonata usually wear off quickly and are usually gone my morning, it has a half life of one hour. Sonata wears off quicker than other non-benzodiazepine drugs such as Ambien or Lunesta. This is why Sonata is usually prescribed for people who have difficulty going to sleep (sleep onset) but with little difficulty with staying asleep (sleep maintenance).

Precautions Before Starting Sonata

Sonata has been shown to be habit forming and should not be used by anyone who has a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction. This medication should not be stopped or started without a doctor’s guidance and recommendation as it can cause withdrawal symptoms after several consecutive days of use.

Other conditions that would prevent Sonata from being used safely:

  • Those with severe liver disease (the doctor may test for liver problems)
  • Those with lung problems including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD
  • Those with a history of depression or other mental illnesses and/or suicidal thoughts
  • Pregnant women or those who are nursing
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired thinking or reactions
  • Feeling sleepy upon waking in the morning

It is important to know how Sonata will affect you before trying to drive or do anything that requires mental alertness after taking the medication. Sonata should be taken as directed by your doctor, and not taken during normal waking hours. If you do not have at least four hours to sleep, Sonata should not be taken.

The Possible Side Effects

There are a number of side effects that could be seen in some people when taken a new medication and as always, any sign of allergic reaction, including hives, difficult breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat should be immediately evaluated. Common side effects include:

Automatic Behaviors

A common problem of both sleep disorders and of some sleep medications, automatic behaviors are defined as activities that are performed while sleeping with no recollection or memories of the events when awake. These behaviors can include: sleepwalking, talking on the phone, doing chores or even driving. If these problems become serious or troubling, the medication should be reevaluated for use.

Precautions for Older Adults

Sonata may have a stronger effect in older adults and may cause even more sedation than is desired. It can also cause seniors to be more prone to falling and being seriously injured while using Sonata. Older adults should be evaluated for their sleep disorder very thoroughly before Sonata or similar sleep medications are prescribed for them.

Sonata and Addiction

Because Sonata is known to be habit forming, it should not be used by those with a history of drug addiction. It can also cause withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly. It is important to discuss stopping or starting this medication with your doctor. Anyone who is being treated for any other condition should discuss their health and the related treatments, including medications with their doctor before staring Sonata.

Sonata can also cause drug interactions, making it even more important that all medications, including herbals and over-the-counter medications should be discussed with the doctor who is going to prescribe Sonata.

Essential further reading:

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