What Are the Side Effects of Sonata?

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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient's unique health circumstances and needs.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects about 33% [3*]  of the adult population in the US and is more common among women than men. Millions of people have difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or troubled or short sleep patterns.

Lack of good quality sleep hampers a person’s general life and productivity. While different treatment options are available, many of them should be used cautiously. For example, insomnia medications may come with side effects. In this post, let’s learn more about the side effects of a popular insomnia medication Sonata and how to prevent or reduce unwanted symptoms.

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What Is Sonata and How It Works

Sonata sleeping pills fall under the category of nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics. This medicine is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

Sonata’s generic version is Zaleplon. It causes some parts of the brain center to relax to help a person fall asleep faster. The medication reduces the time needed to fall asleep but does not improve the length of sleep time or its quality.

Sonata Dosages

Sonata is available in oral 5 mg and 10 mg capsules. The typical dosage for adults is 10 mg per day, but it can be reduced to 5 mg daily. The maximum recommended Sonata (zaleplon) dosage is 20mg per day. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor to get a personalized dosage.

The medication works fast, hence should be taken right before bedtime or when a person has gone to bed. For effective treatment, a patient should take the medication about two hours after a heavy meal.

A patient should only use Sonata if he or she has time to have at least seven to eight hours of sleep. If the patient awakes before having seven hours of sleep, they may experience memory loss, struggle with concentration, and be highly drowsy. After Sonata sleeping pill discontinuation, a patient may struggle with insomnia for a few days. If the sleep problem persists, a patient should consult the doctor.

Sonata Side Effects

Like all medications, Sonata has side effects. Some of these adverse side reactions may affect the following body systems:

Digestive system
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stomach pains
  • Indigestion
Musculoskeletal  system
  • Backache
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Arthritis (Inflammation in joints)
Nervous system
  • Hangover feelings 
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness 
  • Impaired coordination, especially in the first 2 hours after the medication administration
  • Memory or concentration problems 
  • Problems with visions
Integumentary system
  • Mild skin rashes 
  • Skin tingling, pricking, numbness, or sensations
  • Eczema
  • Dry skin
Psychological effects
  • Anxiety or nervous feelings
  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Abnormal thinking


Consult a prescriber if you experience any side effects from insomnia medications.

Rare Side Effects

Respiratory system
  • Apnea
  • Hiccup
  • Hyperventilation
  • Pleural effusion
  • Increased sputum production
Cardiovascular system
  • Bigeminy (skipped heartbeats)
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Postural hypotension
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Thrombophlebitis (blood clots in veins)
Nervous system
  • Neuralgia (nerve pain)
  • Nystagmus (repetitive uncontrolled eye movements)
  • Slow, slurred speech
  • Dystonia (involuntary muscle movements)
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Trismus (restricted jaw movement)
  • Stupor
  • Sleepwalking
  • Sleep talking
  • Delusions
  • Hostility
  • Psychomotor retardation  
Endocrine and metabolic system
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Goitre
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Weight gain
  • Bilirubinemia 
  • Hyperglycemia, hyperuricemia, hypoglycemia, and hypoglycemic reaction
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Ketosis
Musculoskeletal system
  • Osteoporosis (weakening of bones)
  • Myositis (painful muscles)
  • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendons)
Digestive system
  • Oral ulcers
  • Biliary pain
  • Bruxism (clenching of the teeth)
  • Cardiospasm (narrowing of the lower part of the esophagus)
  • Tongue discoloration
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Melena (black stools)
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Cholelithiasis (stones in the gallbladder)
Integumentary system
  • Psoriasis
  • Pustular rash or skin discoloration
  • Melanosis (hyperpigmentation)
  • Psoriasis
Urogenital system
  • Delayed menstrual period
  • Leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge)
  • Urinary retention
  • Inflammation of urethra
  • Vaginal bleeding
Circulatory system
  • Leukocytosis
  • Lymphocytosis
  • Eosinophilia
  • Purpura
Special senses
  • Cataract 
  • Corneal erosion
  • Taste loss
  • Glaucoma
  • Visual field defect
  • Retinal detachment

Precautions and Warnings

Sonata (zaleplon) may cause severe allergic reactions. If this happens, a person should discontinue the medication and contact a doctor immediately.

Some of the serious symptoms of allergic reactions may include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Rashes or hives
  • Swollen face, lips, tongues, or throat
  • Nausea and vomiting

Sonata may also cause some complex sleep behaviors, and patients should immediately report them to the doctor and stop taking the medication. These peculiar behaviors include:

  • Driving, cooking, eating, having sex or making calls when half-awake and half-asleep
  • Inability to remember activities performed during half-sleep
  • Hallucinations, seeing or hearing strange things

Risks of Dependence on Sonata

Sonata is categorized as a Schedule IV in the drug control list. According to studies [4*] , 25 mg, 50 mg, and 75 mg doses of Sonata have a potential for abuse similar to benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-like sedatives.

Sonata sleep aid’s abuse or misuse can cause dependency, overdose, and in extreme cases, death. This medicine should only be administered by a health practitioner. In case of adverse reactions, a patient should consult a doctor for a dosage review.

Sonata (Zaleplon) Interactions

The following drugs can interact with Sonata medication:

  • Cimetidine and Ketoconazole can increase the amount of Zaleplon in the blood.
  • Rifampin can hamper Sonata efficacy.
  • Thioridazine and Imipramine increase drowsiness when administered with Sonata.
  • Erythromycin and similar medications reduce Zaleplon breakdown in the liver.

In addition, note that alcohol combined with Sonata causes extreme drowsiness. Also, zaleplon is not recommended for expectant and breastfeeding mothers unless the benefits surpass the potential risks. A small quantity of Zaleplon is excreted with breastmilk and may have adverse effects on the infant.

Withdrawal Symptoms

A person may experience withdrawal symptoms if they discontinue the medication abruptly after several days of use. It is vital to consult a clinician for professional guidance on discontinuation. The doctor’s instructions may include a gradual decrease of dosage to total discontinuation to help avoid the following symptoms:

  • Stomach or muscle cramps
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Body tremors
  • Convulsion or seizures
  • Hallucination

A patient should contact the doctor the moment they experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.


Sonata is an effective short-term insomnia treatment that induces sleep faster and reduces the period to fall asleep. Since Zaleplon works fast, a patient should take the medication when ready to sleep. The medication is addictive and with serious side effects; hence should be taken in line with the doctor’s guidelines. In case of severe side effects or withdrawal symptoms, a patient should seek medical attention immediately.


+4 sources
  1. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities. (2016)
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  2. Side Effects of Sonata (zaleplon)
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  3. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities. (2016)
    Source link
  4. Side Effects of Sonata (zaleplon)
    Source link

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