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Secobarbital

Why is this medication prescribed?

Secobarbital, a barbiturate, is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia to help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. It also is used as a sedative to relieve anxiety before surgery.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Secobarbital comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken at bedtime as needed for sleep. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Your prescription is not refillable. Take secobarbital exactly as directed.

Secobarbital can be habit-forming. Do not use secobarbital for more than 2 weeks. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tolerance may develop with long-term or excessive use, making the drug less effective. If your sleep problems continue, talk to your doctor, who will determine whether this drug is right for you.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking secobarbital,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to secobarbital or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially acetaminophen (Tylenol); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antihistamines; carbamazepine (Tegretol); clonazepam (Klonopin); disulfiram (Antabuse); felodipine (Plendil); fenoprofen (Nalfon); MAO inhibitors [phenelzine (Nardil) or tranylcypromine (Parnate)]; medications for depression, seizures, pain, asthma, colds, or allergies; metoprolol (Lopressor); metronidazole (Flagyl); muscle relaxants; phenylbutazone (Azolid, Butazolidin); propranolol (Inderal); rifampin (Rifadin); sedatives; sleeping pills; steroids; theophylline (Theo-Dur); tranquilizers; valproic acid (Depakene); verapamil (Calan); and vitamins. These medications may add to the drowsiness caused by secobarbital.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anemia; asthma; seizures; or lung, heart, or liver disease.
  • use a method of birth control other than oral contraceptives while taking this medication. Secobarbital can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking secobarbital, call your doctor immediately.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking secobarbital.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Do not take the missed dose when you remember it. Skip it completely; then take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from secobarbital are common and include:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • excitement (especially in children)
  • upset stomach

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • vomiting
  • nightmares
  • increased dreaming
  • constipation
  • joint or muscle pain

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • mouth sores
  • sore throat
  • easy bruising
  • bloody nose
  • unusual bleeding
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • severe skin rash

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to secobarbital.

Do not let anyone else take your medication.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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