Brevital Sodium

Generic Name: methohexital (meth-oh-HEX-ih-tahl)
Brand Name: Brevital Sodium

Brevital Sodium should only be used in a hospital or clinical setting that provide for continuous monitoring of your breathing and heart functions.


Brevital Sodium is used for:

Inducing anesthesia (lack of sensation or feeling) prior to surgical procedures in adults and children older than 1 month of age. It may also be used to induce sleep. Brevital Sodium may be used alone or in combination with other medicines.

Brevital Sodium is a barbiturate anesthetic. It works by depressing the activity of the brain to inhibit painful sensations and inducing sleep.

Do NOT use Brevital Sodium if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Brevital Sodium
  • you have the blood disease porphyria or are unable to receive anesthesia
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using Brevital Sodium:

Some medical conditions may interact with Brevital Sodium. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have depression, severe liver or heart problems, lung disease, blood circulation problems, breathing problems, asthma (especially severe asthma requiring hospitalization), high or low blood pressure, heart disease or failure, severe anemia, kidney problems, or an endocrine disorder
  • if you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, are in a weakened state or shock, or have a history of seizures
  • if you abuse or are dependent on drugs

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Brevital Sodium. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amiodarone, droxidopa, ethanol, narcotic analgesics (eg, codeine), or sodium oxybate (GHB) because the risk of serious side effects may be increased
  • Barbiturates or phenytoin because the effectiveness of Brevital Sodium may be decreased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Brevital Sodium may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Brevital Sodium:

Use Brevital Sodium as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Brevital Sodium is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Brevital Sodium at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If Brevital Sodium contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • It is best to use Brevital Sodium on an empty stomach.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Brevital Sodium, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Brevital Sodium.

Important safety information:

  • Brevital Sodium may cause drowsiness for up to 12 hours. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous for at least 12 hours following surgery.
  • Brevital Sodium may cause seizures in patients with a history of seizures, especially partial seizure disorders.
  • If pain, whitening, or discoloration occurs at the injection site, tell your health care provider immediately.
  • Use Brevital Sodium with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Use Brevital Sodium with caution in CHILDREN younger than 1 month of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while using Brevital Sodium, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Brevital Sodium during pregnancy. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Brevital Sodium, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Brevital Sodium:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; coughing; drowsiness; flushing; headache; hiccups; itching; muscle twitching; nausea; pain at the injection site; restlessness; salivation; stomach pain; swelling of the veins; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning or swelling at the injection site; delirium; fast heartbeat; interrupted breathing; seizures; throat spasms.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include allergic reactions; breathing problems; coughing; depression; drowsiness; light-headedness; low blood pressure; muscle twitching; seizures; slowed or interrupted breathing; throat problems.

Proper storage of Brevital Sodium:

Brevital Sodium is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Brevital Sodium at home, store Brevital Sodium as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Brevital Sodium out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Brevital Sodium, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Brevital Sodium is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Brevital Sodium or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Brevital Sodium. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Brevital Sodium. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Brevital Sodium.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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