Seconal Sodium

Generic Name: secobarbital (SEE koe BAR bi tal)
Brand Name: Seconal Sodium

What is Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Secobarbital is in a group of drugs called barbiturates (bar-BIT-chur-ates). Secobarbital slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.

Secobarbital is used short-term to treat insomnia, or as a sedative before surgery.

Secobarbital may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Secobarbital may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking secobarbital and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Take secobarbital only when you are getting ready for several hours of sleep. You may fall asleep very quickly after taking the medicine.

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

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking secobarbital and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Do not use secobarbital without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Secobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking secobarbital.

Secobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Secobarbital should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking secobarbital and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to secobarbital, or if you have porphyria.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take secobarbital:

  • severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing disorder;

  • a blood cell disorder such as anemia (lack of red blood cells);

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • liver disease;

  • heart disease;

  • overactive thyroid;

  • a history of depression, mental illness, or suicide attempt; or

  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Secobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Secobarbital should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use secobarbital without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

Secobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking secobarbital.

Secobarbital can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take secobarbital only when you are getting ready for several hours of sleep. You may fall asleep very quickly after taking the medicine.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

If you are taking this medicine to treat insomnia, take it only at bedtime. Do not use secobarbital for longer than 2 weeks to treat insomnia, unless your doctor has told you to.

Do not change your dose of secobarbital without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work as well in treating your condition.

Store secobarbital at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Secobarbital is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take secobarbital only when you are getting ready for several hours of sleep. If you do not have time to get a full night's sleep after taking the medication, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled sleep time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of secobarbital can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include slow or shallow breathing, blurred vision, extreme drowsiness, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Secobarbital can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety can add to sleepiness caused by secobarbital. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these other medicines.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of secobarbital.

Seconal Sodium (secobarbital) side effects

Secobarbital may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking secobarbital and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;

  • slow heartbeat, shallow breathing;

  • feeling like you might pass out;

  • a fever or a sore throat;

  • sores in your mouth;

  • easy bruising or bleeding; or

  • ongoing nightmares or increased dreaming.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness or dizziness;

  • problems with memory or concentration;

  • excitement (especially in children or older adults);

  • upset stomach, constipation;

  • headache; or

  • "hangover" effect (drowsiness the day after a dose).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Seconal Sodium (secobarbital)?

Many drugs can interact with secobarbital. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol);

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);

  • an antibiotic such as doxycycline (Adoxa, Doryx, Mondox, Oracea, Vibramycin, and others), griseofulvin (Grisactin, Fulvicin PG, Grifulvin V), or metronidazole (Flagyl);

  • birth control pills or estrogen hormone replacement, including estrogen (Premarin), estradiol (Estrace, Femtrace, and others), progesterone (Progest, Prometrium), and others;

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theochron, Theolair, Slo-Bid, others);

  • a heart rhythm medication such as quinidine (Cardioquin, Quinidex, Quinora, Quinaglute);

  • seizure medications such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), divalproex (Depakote), phenytoin (Dilantin), or valproic acid (Depakene);

  • heart or blood pressure medication such as atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), felodipine (Plendil) nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), verapamil (Calan);

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate); or

  • steroids such as prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone), prednisolone (Prelone, Delta Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with secobarbital. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about secobarbital.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.02. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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