Generic Name: chloral hydrate (KLOR-uhl HYE-drate)
Brand Name: Somnote
Chloral hydrate is used for:
Treating sleep disorders. It may be used to prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or to treat existing withdrawal symptoms. It may also be used to produce sedation or sleep before certain procedures, or to relieve anxiety due to certain procedures or substance withdrawal. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Chloral hydrate is a nonbarbiturate sedative and hypnotic. It works by depressing the central nervous system (brain). This causes drowsiness and helps you to fall asleep. It is less likely to cause a slower breathing rate than barbiturate-type sedatives/hypnotics.
Do NOT use chloral hydrate if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in chloral hydrate
- you have moderate to severe liver or kidney problems, severe heart problems, or severe inflammation of your stomach
- you are currently taking dofetilide, H1 antagonists (eg, astemizole, terfenadine), or sodium oxybate (GHB)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using chloral hydrate:
Some medical conditions may interact with chloral hydrate. 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 an inflammation of the esophagus, an ulcer, a blood disorder (eg, porphyria), or you have a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or substance abuse or dependence
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with chloral hydrate. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Arsenic, cisapride, dofetilide, or H1 antagonists (eg, astemizole, terfenadine) because side effects, such as serious heart problems, may occur
- Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), paraldehyde, or sodium oxybate (GHB) because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
- Loop diuretics (eg, furosemide) because unexpected side effects, such as fast heart rate and changing blood pressure, may occur
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because actions and side effects may be altered by chloral hydrates
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if chloral hydrate 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 chloral hydrate:
Use chloral hydrate as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Chloral hydrate may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
- Swallow chloral hydrate whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
- Take chloral hydrate with a full glass of water or other liquid to reduce stomach upset.
- If you miss a dose of chloral hydrate and you are taking it regularly, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use chloral hydrate.
Important safety information:
- Chloral hydrate may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to chloral hydrate. Using chloral hydrate alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking chloral hydrate. Chloral hydrate will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
- Chloral hydrate is not recommended for use in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using chloral hydrate during pregnancy. Chloral hydrate is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using chloral hydrate, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.
Chloral hydrate may be habit-forming and lead to DEPENDENCE if used in high doses or for a long period of time. If you are on long-term or high dosage therapy, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms (eg, convulsions, tremor, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating) if you suddenly stop taking chloral hydrate. Do not stop therapy abruptly or change dosage without asking your pharmacist or doctor. Discuss overuse with your doctor or pharmacist.
Possible side effects of chloral hydrate:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness upon awakening; gas; nausea; unpleasant taste in mouth; upset stomach.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); disorientation; vomiting.
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 decreased pupil size; slow or fast and shallow breathing; vomiting.Proper storage of chloral hydrate:
Store chloral hydrate at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep chloral hydrate out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about chloral hydrate, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Chloral hydrate 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 chloral hydrate 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 chloral hydrate. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to chloral hydrate. 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 chloral hydrate.
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.
More chloral hydrate resources
- chloral hydrate Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- chloral hydrate Oral, Rectal Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Chloral Hydrate Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Chloral Hydrate Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Aquachloral Supprettes Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- Somnote Prescribing Information (FDA)