Thiopental

Generic Name: thiopental (thye-oh-PEN-tol)
Brand Name: Pentothal

Thiopental is used for:

Causing drowsiness or sleep before surgery or certain medical procedures. It is also used to stop seizures. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

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

Do NOT use thiopental if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in thiopental
  • you have the blood disease porphyria
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

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

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using thiopental:

Some medical conditions may interact with thiopental. 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 kidney or liver problems, lung or respiratory tract disease, heart problems, low blood pressure, adrenal gland problems (eg, Addison disease), asthma, myasthenia gravis, thyroid problems, or increased pressure in the brain
  • if you have a history of substance abuse or dependence, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior

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

  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), probenecid, or sodium oxybate (GHB) because side effects may be increased
  • Aminophylline, beta-blockers (eg, atenolol), clozapine, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), doxycycline, estrogens (eg, micronized estradiol), griseofulvin, metronidazole, narcotic pain medicine (eg, codeine), oral contraceptives (birth control pills), phenytoin, quinidine, theophylline, valproic acid, or zimelidine because their effectiveness may be reduced by thiopental

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

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

  • Thiopental is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • If thiopental contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • 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 thiopental, contact your doctor immediately.

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

Important safety information:

  • Thiopental causes drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to thiopental. Using thiopental alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking thiopental. Thiopental will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
  • Thiopental may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control pill. To prevent pregnancy, be sure to use an additional form of birth control while using thiopental.
  • Use thiopental with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially drowsiness, depression, or confusion.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Thiopental has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using thiopental during pregnancy. Thiopental is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using thiopental, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

When used for longer than a few weeks or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking thiopental. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.

Possible side effects of thiopental:

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; lightheadedness.

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); fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; hallucinations; severe dizziness; 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.

Proper storage of thiopental:

Thiopental is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using thiopental at home, store thiopental as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.

General information:

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

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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