This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our policy on the use of cookies.Continue

Sonata 10 mg hard capsules

1. Name of the medicinal product

Sonata 10 mg hard capsules

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Each capsule contains 10 mg of zaleplon.

Excipient with known effect: Lactose monohydrate 49 mg.

For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3. Pharmaceutical form

Capsule, hard.

Capsules have an opaque white hard shell with the strength “10 mg”.

4. Clinical particulars
4.1 Therapeutic indications

Sonata is indicated for the treatment of patients with insomnia who have difficulty falling asleep. It is indicated only when the disorder is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to extreme distress.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

For adults, the recommended dose is 10 mg.

Treatment should be as short as possible with a maximum duration of two weeks.

Sonata can be taken immediately before going to bed or after the patient has gone to bed and is experiencing difficulty falling asleep. As administration after food delays the time to maximal plasma concentration by approximately 2 hours no food should be eaten with or shortly before intake of Sonata.

The total daily dose of Sonata should not exceed 10 mg in any patient. Patients should be advised not to take a second dose within a single night.


Elderly patients may be sensitive to the effects of hypnotics; therefore, 5 mg is the recommended dose of Sonata.

Paediatric patients

Sonata is contraindicated in children and adolescents under 18 years of age (see section 4.3).

Hepatic impairment

As clearance is reduced, patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment should be treated with Sonata 5 mg. For severe hepatic impairment see section 4.3.

Renal impairment

No dosage adjustment is required in patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency, because Sonata pharmacokinetics is not altered in such patients. Severe renal impairment is contraindicated (see section 4.3.).

4.3 Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1.

Severe hepatic impairment

Severe renal impairment

Sleep apnoea syndrome

Myasthenia gravis

Severe respiratory insufficiency

Children and adolescents (under 18 years of age)

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Complex behaviours such as “sleep-driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported in patients taking sedative-hypnotics. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-naive as well as in sedative-hypnotic experienced persons. Although behaviours such as sleep-driving may occur with a sedative-hypnotic alone at therapeutic doses, the use of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants with sedative-hypnotics appears to increase the risk of such behaviours, as does exceeding the maximum recommended dose. Due to the risk to the patient and the community, discontinuation of zaleplon is recommended for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode. Other complex behaviours (e.g., preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.

Severe anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions have been reported with the use of sedative-hypnotics, including zaleplon. Cases of angioedema involving the tongue, glottis or larynx have been reported in patients after taking the first or subsequent doses of sedative-hypnotics, including zaleplon. Some patients taking sedative-hypnotics have had additional symptoms such as dyspnoea, throat closing, or nausea and vomiting. Some patients have required medical therapy in the emergency department. If angioedema involves the tongue, glottis or larynx, airway obstruction may occur and be fatal. Patients who develop angioedema after treatment with zaleplon should not be rechallenged with the active substance.

Insomnia may represent an underlying physical or psychiatric disorder. Insomnia that persists or worsens after a short course of zaleplon treatment may indicate a need to re-evaluate the patient.

Due to zaleplon's short plasma half-life, alternative therapy should be considered if early morning awakening is experienced. Patients should be advised not to take a second dose within a single night.

Co-administration of Sonata with medicinal products known to influence CYP3A4 is expected to result in changes in zaleplon's plasma concentrations. (See section 4.5).


Some loss of efficacy to the hypnotic effects of short-acting benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents may develop after repeated use for a few weeks.


Use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents may lead to physical and psychic dependence. The risk of dependence increases with dose and duration of treatment and is greater with patients having a history of alcohol and medicinal product abuse. Once physical dependence has developed, abrupt termination of treatment will be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. These may consist of headaches, muscle pain, extreme anxiety, tension, restlessness, confusion and irritability. In severe cases the following symptoms may occur: unreality, depersonalisation, hyperacusis, numbness and tingling of the extremities, hypersensitivity to light, noise and physical contact, hallucinations or epileptic seizures. There have been post-marketing reports of dependence associated with zaleplon, predominantly in combination with other psychotropic agents.

Rebound insomnia and anxiety

A transient syndrome whereby the symptoms that led to the treatment with a benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-like agent recur in an enhanced form, may occur on withdrawal of treatment. It may be accompanied by other reactions including mood changes, anxiety, or sleep disturbances and restlessness.

Duration of treatment

The duration of treatment should be as short as possible (see section 4.2), and should not exceed two weeks. Extension beyond these periods should not take place without clinical re-evaluation of the patient.

It may be useful to inform the patient when treatment is started that it will be of limited duration. It is important that patients be aware of the possibility of rebound phenomena, thereby minimising anxiety should such symptoms develop when the medicinal product is discontinued.

Memory and psychomotor impairment

Benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents may induce anterograde amnesia and psychomotor impairment. These occur most often up to several hours after ingesting the product. To reduce the risk, patients should not undertake activities requiring psychomotor co-ordination until 4 hours or more after taking Sonata (see section 4.7).

Psychiatric and “paradoxical” reactions

Reactions like restlessness, agitation, irritability, decreased inhibition, aggressiveness, abnormal thinking, delusion, rages, nightmares, depersonalisation, hallucinations, psychoses, inappropriate behaviour, extroversion that seems out of character and other behavioural effects are known to occur when using benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine-like agents. They may be active substance-induced, spontaneous in origin, or a result of an underlying psychiatric or physical disorder. These reactions are more likely to occur in the elderly. Should this occur, use of this product should be discontinued. Any new behavioural sign or symptom requires careful and immediate evaluation.

Specific patient groups

Alcohol and medicinal product abuse

Benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-like agents should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of alcohol or medicinal product abuse.

Hepatic impairment

Benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-like agents are not indicated to treat patients with severe hepatic insufficiency as they may precipitate encephalopathy (see section 4.2). In patients with mild to moderate hepatic insufficiency, the bioavailability of zaleplon is increased because of reduced clearance, and the dose will therefore need to be modified in these patients.

Renal impairment

Sonata is not indicated to treat patients with severe renal impairment as it has not been adequately studied in those patients. In patients with mild to moderate renal impairment, the pharmacokinetic profile of zaleplon is not significantly different than that in healthy subjects. Hence, no dose adjustment is required in these patients.

Respiratory insufficiency

Caution should be observed when prescribing sedative medicinal products to patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency.


Benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-like agents are not recommended for the primary treatment of psychotic illness.


Benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents should not be used alone to treat depression or anxiety associated with depression (suicide may be precipitated in such patients). Also, because of the increased risk for intentional overdose in patients with depression in general, the quantity of a medicinal product, including zaleplon, prescribed for such patients should be kept to the necessary minimum.

Sonata contains lactose. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Concomitant intake with alcohol is not recommended. The sedative effect may be enhanced when the product is used in combination with alcohol. This affects the ability to drive or use machines (see section 4.7).

Combination with other CNS-acting compounds should be taken into account. Enhancement of the central sedation may occur in cases of concomitant use with antipsychotics (neuroleptics), hypnotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, antidepressant agents, narcotic analgesics, anti-epileptic medicinal products, anaesthetics, and sedative antihistamines.

Coadministration of a single zaleplon 10 mg dose and venlafaxine (extended release) 75 mg or 150 mg daily did not produce any interaction on memory (immediate and delayed word recall) or psychomotor performance (digit symbol substitution test). Additionally, there was no pharmacokinetic interaction between zaleplon and venlafaxine (extended release).

In the case of narcotic analgesics enhancement of the euphoria may occur leading to an increase in physiological dependence.

Diphenhydramine is reported to be a weak inhibitor of aldehyde oxidase in rat liver, but its inhibitory effects in human liver are not known. There is no pharmacokinetic interaction between zaleplon and diphenhydramine following the administration of a single dose (10 mg and 50 mg, respectively) of each drug. However, because both of these compounds have CNS effects, an additive pharmacodynamic effect is possible.

Cimetidine, a non-specific moderate inhibitor of several hepatic enzymes including both aldehyde oxidase and CYP3A4, produced an 85% increase in plasma concentrations of zaleplon because it inhibited both the primary (aldehyde oxidase) and secondary (CYP3A4) enzymes responsible for zaleplon's metabolism. Therefore, caution is advisable in co-administering cimetidine and Sonata.

Co-administration of Sonata with a single 800 mg dose of erythromycin, a strong, selective CYP3A4 inhibitor, produced a 34% increase in zaleplon's plasma concentrations. A routine dosage adjustment of Sonata is not considered necessary, but patients should be advised that the sedative effects might be enhanced.

In contrast, rifampicin, a strong inducer of several hepatic enzymes, including CYP3A4 resulted in a four fold reduction in zaleplon plasma concentration. Co-administration of Sonata together with inducers of CYP3A4 such as rifampicin, carbamazepine and phenobarbitone, may result in a reduction of zaleplon's efficacy.

Sonata did not affect the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of digoxin and warfarin, two compounds with a narrow therapeutic index. In addition, ibuprofen, as an example of compounds that alter renal excretion, showed no interaction with Sonata.

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Although animal studies have shown no teratogenic or embryotoxic effects, insufficient clinical data are available on Sonata to assess its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Use of Sonata is not recommended during pregnancy. If the medicinal product is prescribed to a woman of child-bearing potential, she should be warned to contact her physician regarding discontinuance of the medicinal product if she intends to become or suspects that she is pregnant.

If for compelling medical reasons, the medicinal product is administered during the late phase of pregnancy, or during labour at high doses, effects on the neonate, such as hypothermia, hypotonia and moderate respiratory depression, can be expected, due to the pharmacological action of the compound.

Infants born to mothers who took benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-like agents chronically during the latter stages of pregnancy may have developed physical dependence and may be at some risk for developing withdrawal symptoms in the postnatal period.

Because zaleplon is excreted in the breast milk, Sonata should not be administered to breast-feeding mothers.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Sonata has major influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

Sedation, amnesia, impaired concentration and impaired muscular function may adversely affect the ability to drive or to use machines. If insufficient sleep duration occurs, the likelihood of impaired alertness may be increased (see section 4.5). Caution is recommended for patients performing skilled tasks.

4.8 Undesirable effects

The most frequent reported adverse drug reactions are amnesia, paraesthesia, somnolence and dysmenorrhea.

Frequencies are defined as

Very common (≥1/10)

Common (≥1/100 to <1/10)

Uncommon (≥1/1,000 to <1/100)

Rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000)

Very rare (<1/10,000)

not known (cannot be estimated from the available data)

Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.



Adverse Reactions

Nervous system disorders




amnesia, paraesthesia, somnolence

ataxia/coordination abnormal, dizziness, disturbance in attention, parosmia, speech disorder (dysarthria, slurred speech), hypoaesthesia

See also below under Amnesia

Eye disorders



visual impairment, diplopia

Ear and labyrinth disorders




Gastrointestinal disorders




Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders


Frequency not known:


photosensitivity reaction


Metabolism and nutrition disorders




General disorders and administration site conditions



asthenia, malaise

Immune system disorders

Very rare:


anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions

Hepatobiliary disorders

Frequency not known:


hepatotoxicity (mostly described as transaminase increased)

Reproductive system and breast disorders




Psychiatric disorders


Frequency not known:


depersonalisation, hallucinations, depression, confusional state, apathy


See also below under Depression and Psychiatric and “paradoxical” reactions


Anterograde amnesia may occur using recommended therapeutic dosages, the risk increasing at higher dosages. Amnestic effects may be associated with inappropriate behaviour (see section 4.4).


Pre-existing depression may be unmasked during benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-like agent use.

Psychiatric and “paradoxical” reactions

Reactions like restlessness, agitation, irritability, decreased inhibition, aggressiveness, abnormal thinking, delusions, rages, nightmares, depersonalisation, hallucinations, psychoses, inappropriate behaviour, extroversion that seems out of character and other adverse behavioural reactions are known to occur when using benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine-like agents. Such reactions are more likely to occur in the elderly.


Use (even at therapeutic doses) may lead to the development of physical dependence: discontinuation of therapy may result in withdrawal or rebound phenomena (see section 4.4). Psychic dependence may occur. Abuse of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like active substances has been reported.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at:

4.9 Overdose

There is limited clinical experience with the effects of an acute overdose of Sonata, and overdose levels in humans have not been determined.

As with other benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine-like agents, overdose should not present a threat to life unless combined with other CNS depressants (including alcohol).

Symptoms of overdose

Overdose of benzodiazepine or benzodiazepine-like agents is usually manifested by degrees of central nervous system depression ranging from drowsiness to coma. In mild cases, symptoms include drowsiness, mental confusion, and lethargy, in more serious cases, symptoms may include ataxia, hypotonia, hypotension, respiratory depression, rarely coma and very rarely death. Chromaturia (blue-green urine discolouration) has been reported with zaleplon overdose.

Therapy of overdose

In the management of overdose with any medicinal product, it should be borne in mind that multiple agents may have been taken.

Treatment of Sonata overdose is largely supportive. Attention to airway patency and supportive management of ventilation and haemodynamics are usually sufficient. In mild cases patients should sleep under control of respiratory and circulatory function. Induced vomiting is not recommended. In severe cases, use of activated charcoal or gastric lavage may be useful when performed soon after ingestion. Further, stabilization of circulatory function and intensive monitoring may be required. The value of forced dialysis or haemodialysis in the treatment of over dosage has not been determined.

Animal studies suggest that flumazenil is an antagonist to zaleplon and should be considered in the management of Sonata overdose. However, there is no clinical experience with the use of flumazenil as an antidote to a Sonata overdose.

5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Benzodiazepine related drugs, ATC Code N05CF03

Zaleplon is a pyrazolopyrimidine hypnotic that is structurally different from benzodiazepines and other hypnotics. Zaleplon binds selectively to the benzodiazepine type I receptor.

Zaleplon's pharmacokinetic profile shows rapid absorption and elimination (see section 5.2). In combination with its subtype selective receptor-binding characteristics, with high selectivity and low affinity for the benzodiazepine type I receptor, these properties are responsible for the overall characteristics of Sonata.

Sonata's efficacy has been demonstrated in both sleep laboratory studies using objective polysomnography (PSG) measures of sleep and in outpatient studies using patient questionnaires to assess sleep. In these studies, patients were diagnosed with primary (psychophysiological) insomnia.

Sleep latency in outpatient studies was decreased for up to 4 weeks in non-elderly patients with Sonata 10 mg. In elderly patients, sleep latency was often significantly decreased with Sonata 5 mg and was consistently decreased with Sonata 10 mg compared with placebo in 2-week studies. This decreased sleep latency was significantly different from that observed with placebo. Results from the 2- and 4-week studies showed that no pharmacological tolerance developed with any dose of Sonata.

In Sonata studies using objective PSG measures, Sonata 10 mg was superior to placebo in decreasing sleep latency and increasing sleep duration during the first half of the night. Sonata has been shown to preserve sleep stages in controlled studies that measured the percentage of sleep time spent in each sleep stage.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties


Zaleplon is rapidly and almost completely absorbed after oral administration, and peak concentrations are reached in approximately 1 hour. At least 71% of the orally-administered dose is absorbed. Zaleplon undergoes presystemic metabolism, resulting in an absolute bioavailability of approximately 30%.


Zaleplon is lipophilic with a volume of distribution of about 1.4 ± 0.3 l/kg following intravenous administration. The in vitro plasma protein binding is approximately 60%, suggesting little risk of active substance interaction due to protein binding.


Zaleplon is primarily metabolised by aldehyde oxidase to form 5-oxo-zaleplon. Additionally, zaleplon is metabolised by CYP3A4 to form desethylzaleplon which is further metabolised by aldehyde oxidase to form 5-oxo-desethylzaleplon. The oxidative metabolites are further metabolised by conjugation via glucuronidation. All of zaleplon's metabolites are inactive in both animal behavioural models and in vitro activity assays.

Zaleplon plasma concentrations increased linearly with dose, and zaleplon showed no signs of accumulation following administration of up to 30 mg/day. The elimination half-life of zaleplon is approximately 1 hour.


Zaleplon is excreted in the form of inactive metabolites, mainly in the urine (71%) and faeces (17%). Fifty-seven percent (57%) of the dose is recovered in urine in the form of 5-oxo-zaleplon and its glucuronide metabolite, an additional 9% is recovered as 5-oxo-desethylzaleplon and its glucuronide metabolite. The remainder of the urinary recovery consists of minor metabolites. The majority of the faecal recovery consists of 5-oxo-zaleplon.Hepatic Impairment

Zaleplon is metabolised primarily by the liver and undergoes significant presystemic metabolism. Consequently, the oral clearance of zaleplon was reduced by 70% and 87% in compensated and decompensated cirrhotic patients, respectively, leading to marked increases in mean Cmax and AUC (up to 4-fold and 7-fold in compensated and decompensated patients, respectively) relative to healthy subjects. The dose of zaleplon should be reduced in patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment, and zaleplon is not recommended for use in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment

The single dose pharmacokinetics of zaleplon were studied in patients with mild (creatinine clearance 40 to 89 ml/min) and moderate (20 to 39 ml/min) renal impairment, and in patients on dialysis. In patients with moderate impairment and those on dialysis there was a reduction of approximately 23% in peak plasma concentration compared to healthy volunteers. The extent of exposure to zaleplon was similar among all groups. Therefore, no dose adjustment is necessary in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment. Zaleplon has not been adequately studied in patients with severe renal impairment.

5.3 Preclinical safety data

Repeated dose toxicity

In line with effects observed with other compounds binding to benzodiazepine receptors, reversible increases in liver and adrenal weights in rats and dogs were only noted upon repeated oral administration of high multiples of the maximum human therapeutic dose. At these doses, a significant reduction in the weight of both prostate and testes was apparent in a three month study in prepubescent dogs.

Reproduction toxicity

In a fertility and reproductive performance study in rats, mortality and decreased fertility were observed in males and females at an oral zaleplon dose of 100 mg/kg/day (equivalent to 49-times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 20 mg on a mg/m2 basis). Follow-up studies indicated that impaired fertility was due to an effect on the female.

In embryofetal development studies, oral administration of zaleplon up to 100 mg/kg/day and 50 mg/kg/day to pregnant rats and rabbits, respectively, produced no evidence of teratogenicity (equivalent to 49- (rat) and 48-(rabbit) times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Pre-and postnatal growth of rats was reduced at the maternally toxic dose of 100 mg/kg/day. The no-effect dose for growth of rat offspring was 10 mg/kg (equivalent to 5-times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). No adverse effects on embryofetal development were observed in rabbits.

In a pre- and postnatal development study in rats, increased stillbirth and postnatal mortality, and decreased growth and physical development, were observed in the offspring of females treated with doses of ≥7 mg/kg/day that did not elicit maternal toxicity. The no-effect dose for postnatal development was 1 mg/kg/day (equivalent to 0.5-times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). In a subsequent cross-fostering study, adverse effects on offspring viability and growth appeared to result from both in utero and lactational exposure to zaleplon.


Oral administration of zaleplon to rats for 104 consecutive weeks at dosage levels up to 20 mg/kg/day did not result in compound-related tumorigenicity. Oral administration of zaleplon to mice for 65 or 104 consecutive weeks at high dosage levels (≥100 mg/kg/day) elicited a statistically significant increase in benign but not in malignant liver tumors. The increased incidence of benign liver tumors in mice was likely an adaptive event.

Overall, the results of the preclinical studies do not suggest any significant safety hazard for use of Sonata at recommended doses in humans.

6. Pharmaceutical particulars
6.1 List of excipients

Capsule core

Microcrystalline cellulose,

pregelatinised starch,

silicon dioxide,

sodium lauryl sulphate,

magnesium stearate,

lactose monohydrate,

indigo carmine (E132),

titanium dioxide (E171).

Capsule shell


titanium dioxide (E171),

sodium lauryl sulphate,

Printing inks on the shell contain the following (pink ink SW-1105):


titanium dioxide (E171),

ammonium hydroxide,

red iron oxide (E172),

yellow iron oxide (E172).

6.2 Incompatibilities

Not applicable.

6.3 Shelf life

3 years.

6.4 Special precautions for storage

This medicinal product does not require any special temperature storage conditions.

6.5 Nature and contents of container

PVC / PVDC aluminium blister packages of 7, 10, 14 capsules in perforated unit-dose blisters. Not all pack sizes may be marketed.

6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling

No special requirements.

Sonata has been designed so that if the contents of the capsule are dissolved in a liquid, the liquid will change colour and become cloudy.

7. Marketing authorisation holder

Meda AB

Pipers väg 2A

S-170 09 Solna


8. Marketing authorisation number(s)


9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation

Date of first authorisation: 12 March 1999

Date of latest renewal: 12 March 2009

10. Date of revision of the text

December 2014

Detailed information on this medicinal product is available on the website of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA)

Company Information

Meda Pharmaceuticals

Address : Sky Way House, Parsonage Road, Takeley, Bishop's Stortford, CM22 6PU

Telephone : 0845 460 0000

Fax : 0845 460 0002

Medical Information Direct Line : +44 (0)1748 828 810

Medical Information e-mail :

Medical Information Fax : +44 (0)1748 828 801

Out of Hours contact : +44 (0)1748 828 810

More information about this medicine

Legal categories

  • POM

Active ingredients/generics

  • zaleplon

Patient Information Leaflets (PILs):

© 2015 Datapharm Communications Ltd