Compare Sonata vs. Ativan

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Sonata
(Zaleplon)

Ativan
(Lorazepam)

Helps you sleep. Sonata (Zaleplon) helps you fall asleep, but it's not as good for staying asleep. It also interacts with a lot of diseases and other drugs.Helps you relax. Ativan (Lorazepam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety and sleep. Less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
3.810344827586207Sonata
Reviews for Sonata (Zaleplon)
42%
of people say Sonata (Zaleplon) is worth it
24%
say it works well
27%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Ativan (Lorazepam)
70%
+28% vs. Sonata (Zaleplon)
50%
+26% vs. Sonata (Zaleplon)
15%
+12% vs. Sonata (Zaleplon)
Side effects
SonataAtivan
  • Headache 7%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Amnesia 3%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Eye pain 2%
  • Menstrual cramps 2%
  • Drowsiness 2%
  • Tingling sensation 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Tremor 1%
More Sonata side effects »

The Ativan FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ativan side effects »
How it works
SonataAtivan
Sonata (Zaleplon) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Ativan (Lorazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
SonataAtivan
SedativePrescription only
Anti-anxiety
Benzodiazepine
Prescription only
Available as
SonataAtivan
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
SonataAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
SonataAtivan
  • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Sonata (Zaleplon) risks & warnings »
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Taking longer than 4 weeks
    • History of drug abuse
    • Long-term use
      • Alcohol
      • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
        Detailed Ativan (Lorazepam) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        SonataAtivan
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
        • Sonata (Zaleplon) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
        • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
        • Not safe to use with alcohol.
        Food
        • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
        No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
        • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
        • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behaviors so you can sleep better naturally.
        • Doesn't last as long in the body as some other sleep medicines, so it's okay to take it in the middle of the night as long as you enough time to sleep. (But be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.)
        • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
        • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
        • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Sonata (Zaleplon) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
        • Sonata (Zaleplon) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Sonata (Zaleplon) if any sleep-related activities occur.
        • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
        • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
        • Stopping Ativan (Lorazepam) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and muscle pain or burning. Withdrawal symptoms can last 6 weeks or longer. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        SonataAtivan
        • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster.
        • Doesn't last as long in the body as some other sleep medicines, so it's okay to take it in the middle of the night as long as you enough time to sleep. (But be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.)
        • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety and sleeplessness.
        • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
        • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
        Downsides and risks
        SonataAtivan
        • Not typically used for long-term treatment since it can be habit-forming.
        • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
        • Interacts badly with many other medications.
        • Not a good option if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
        • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
        • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
        • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behaviors so you can sleep better naturally.
        • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
        • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
        • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
        • Most people find that it gets less effective over time.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        SonataAtivan
        • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
        • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
        • It's very addictive and meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can start to form after using it daily for 2 weeks.
        • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
        • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
        • Withdrawal symptoms usually get better in 1 to 2 days.
        • Tell your doctor about any sudden confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
        • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
        • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
        • Starts working in 10 to 20 minutes when dissolved under your tongue.
        • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
        • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
        • Not safe to use with alcohol.
        Learn more
        More about SonataSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert