Seconal

Generic Name: secobarbital (SEE-koe-BAR-bi-tahl)
Brand Name: Seconal

Seconal is used for:

Treating sleep disorders. It may also be used as a sedative prior to anesthesia for surgery.

Seconal is a barbiturate. It works by depressing the central nervous system, causing mild sedation or sleep, depending on the dose.

Do NOT use Seconal if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Seconal
  • you have the blood disease porphyria or moderate to severe liver or lung problems
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

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

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using Seconal:

Some medical conditions may interact with Seconal. 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 liver problems, lung or respiratory tract disease, or a painful condition
  • if you have a history of substance abuse or dependence, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior

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

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (eg, phenelzine) or sodium oxybate (GHB) because they may increase the risk of Seconal's side effects
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), beta-blockers (eg, atenolol), clozapine, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), doxycycline, estrogens (eg, micronized estradiol), griseofulvin, metronidazole, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), phenytoin, quinidine, stiripentol, theophylline, or valproic acid because their effectiveness may be decreased by Seconal

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Seconal 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 Seconal:

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

  • Take Seconal by mouth with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose of Seconal and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised by your health care provider. Do not take 2 doses at once.

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

Important safety information:

  • Seconal may cause drowsiness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Seconal with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Seconal.
  • Check with your doctor before you take other medicine that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Seconal; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicine may cause drowsiness.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose or take Seconal for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor. Exceeding the recommended dose or taking Seconal for longer than prescribed may be habit-forming.
  • Some patients taking Seconal have performed certain activities while they were not fully awake. These have included sleep-driving, making and eating food, making phone calls, and having sex. Patients often do not remember these events after they happen. Such an event may be more likely to occur if you use a high dose of Seconal. It may also be more likely if you drink alcohol or take other medicine that may cause drowsiness while you use Seconal. Tell your doctor right away if such an event happens to you.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Seconal.
  • Seconal may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control pill. To prevent pregnancy, be sure to use an additional form of birth control while using Seconal.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts and kidney and liver function tests, may be performed while you use Seconal. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Seconal with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially drowsiness, depression, or confusion.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Seconal while you are pregnant. Seconal is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Seconal, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

When sleep medicines are used every night for more than a few weeks, they may lose their effectiveness to help you sleep. This is known as TOLERANCE. Sleep medicines should usually be used only for short periods of time, such as a few days and generally no longer than 1 or 2 weeks. If your sleep problems continue, contact your doctor.

When used for longer than a few weeks or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking Seconal. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. If you suddenly stop taking Seconal, you may experience WITHDRAWAL symptoms, including anxiety, muscle twitching, trembling hands and fingers, weakness, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, sleeplessness, lightheadedness, or seizures.

Possible side effects of Seconal:

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:

Clumsiness; dizziness; excessive daytime drowsiness; lightheadedness.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); confusion; difficulty sleeping; fainting; fever; hallucinations; severe dizziness; trouble sleeping; unusual behavior; very slow breathing.

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 change in size of pupil; cold, clammy skin; deep sleep; incoordination; loss of consciousness; slowed or fast breathing; slurred speech; trouble walking; unusual eye movements.

Proper storage of Seconal:

Store Seconal at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Seconal out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Seconal, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Seconal 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 Seconal 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 Seconal. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Seconal. 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 Seconal.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
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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