Jump to Navigation

Sonata Fact Sheet

Printer-friendly version
Medication Name (brand): 
Sonata
Medication Name (clinical): 
zaleplon
Manufacturer: 

King; patent expires June 2008.

Indications: 

Indicated for sleep initiation but not for sleep maintenance.

Mechanism: 

A so-called “non-benzodiazepine,” in the chemical category called “pyrazolopyridines.” Binds to the GABA-benzodiazepine receptor complex, like benzodiazepines, but is more selective for the omega-1 receptor subtype than BZs.

Dosing: 
  • Supplied as 5 mg and 10 mg capsules (not breakable).

  • Start at 5 mg QHS for elderly, 10 mg QHS otherwise. The PDR suggests a maximum of 20 mg QHS.

Side Effects: 
  • Most common: drowsiness and dizziness.

  • Because of Sonata’s short half life, it rarely causes next day impairment.
  • Does not impair normal sleep stages.
  • Classified as a Schedule IV drug, but abuse potential is likely somewhat less than BZs.
  • Pregnancy Category C

Drug-drug Interactions: 
  • Additive effect when combined with alcohol and other drugs or medications that have sedative effects.

  • Cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, such as tegretol, may significantly decrease Sonata blood levels.
  • Cimetidine increases Sonata levels by 80%.

Pharmokinetics: 
  • Half life is 1 hour; duration of action about 4 hours.

  • No active metabolites. Metabolized in the liver by aldehyde oxidase.
  • Absorbed more slowly if taken after a meal.
  • Cut dose in half in hepatic insufficiency. No adjustments needed in renal impairment.

Pearls: 

Great for inducing sleep, not great for sleep maintenance throughout the night. Only sleeping pill that can be taken at 3 or 4 AM without causing functional impairment when the patient gets out of bed at 7 or 8 AM.

Return to issue area