What Is Sonata (Zaleplon)?

Sonata is a brand-name, prescription medication which is also known by the generic name zaleplon. Prescribed as a short-term sleep aid, it’s primarily for people who have trouble falling asleep and is not ideal for people who have trouble staying asleep through the night. Classified as a sedative-hypnotic drug, Sonata works on certain areas of the brain to create a calming and relaxing effect. The drug is also sold under the brand names Starnoc and Andante. Sonata has a very short half-life, which is why it’s not well-suited for people who wake in the night or wake too early.

The mechanism of action of Sonata and the side effects are similar to those of the benzodiazepine drug class. Benzodiazepines are a class of medicines used to treat insomnia, as well as anxiety and panic symptoms. When someone is prescribed Sonata, they should take it immediately before bed. The recommended time is 5 to 20 minutes before they plan on going to bed. Possible side effects of Sonata can include short-term memory loss, daytime drowsiness and dizziness.

What Does Sonata Look Like?

Sonata is available in a 5 mg dose as well as a 10 mg dose. The 5 mg dose of Sonata is available as a green and white capsule. It is imprinted with 5 mg and the world “Sonata,” making it easy to identify. The Sonata 10 mg dose is only green and is imprinted with “Sonata 10 mg.” It’s important to never take Sonata without a prescription or to use a prescription for longer than instructed by a physician. When someone is prescribed Sonata, the starting dose can be either 5 mg or 10 mg. No patient should take it if they need to be alert in less than four hours. In rare cases, a dose of up to 20 mg may be used.

Is Sonata Addictive?

All sedative-hypnotics are considered to have a potential for addiction. Sonata is classified as a Schedule IV drug in the United States. This means the drug can be habit-forming. When someone uses Sonata, it affects GABA receptors in the brain. In doing so, the patient may experience pleasant feelings such as extreme relaxation or even a dopamine-triggering response. This is how addiction develops. With repeated exposure to Sonata, a person’s risk of becoming addicted increases. Addiction is a chronic brain disease. Once someone develops a Sonata addiction, it affects their thinking and their behavior in profound ways.

Along with being addictive, dependence is possible when someone uses Sonata. Dependence can occur regardless of whether or not someone is addicted to a substance. With Sonata dependence, a person’s brain and body become used to the presence of the drug. When someone is dependent and tries to stop using Sonata suddenly, they may have intense withdrawal symptoms.

When a physician is considering prescribing Sonata, it’s important that patients disclose any history of substance abuse. This can include use of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription medications. A patient should also let their physician know about any history of mental health conditions they may have, as well as any other substances they regularly use. To avoid the risk of Sonata addiction and dependence, this drug should be taken exactly as prescribed and only with a prescription. Larger doses shouldn’t be used and Sonata shouldn’t be used longer than a few weeks.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.