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Brevital Sodium

Generic name: methohexitalMETH-oh-HEX-i-tal ]
Drug class: General anesthetics

Medically reviewed by on Oct 19, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Brevital Sodium?

Brevital Sodium is a barbiturate (bar-BIT-chur-ate) that is used to cause you to fall asleep before a surgery or other medical procedure.

Brevital Sodium may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Avoid driving or operating machinery for 8 to 12 hours after you awake from anesthesia.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with Brevital Sodium if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Anesthesia may affect brain development in a young child or unborn baby (when used in the mother), leading to learning or behavior problems later in life. Long surgeries or repeated procedures pose the highest risks.

Anesthesia may still be necessary for a life-threatening condition, medical emergency, or surgery to correct a birth defect. Your doctor can give inform you about all medicines given during a surgery or procedure.

Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using Brevital Sodium.

How is Brevital Sodium given?

Brevital Sodium is injected into a muscle or a vein. This medication is also given rectally when used in young children.

A healthcare provider will give you this medicine.

Tell your medical caregivers if you feel any burning or pain when Brevital Sodium is injected.

Brevital Sodium should make you fall asleep very quickly.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely. You will also be watched closely while you are coming out of the anesthesia.

Drowsiness may last for several hours. You will need someone to drive you home from after you receive Brevital Sodium.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Brevital Sodium is used as a single dose and does not have a daily dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

In a medical setting an overdose would be treated quickly.

What should I avoid after receiving Brevital Sodium?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery for 8 to 12 hours after you awake from anesthesia.

Avoid drinking alcohol for a short time after receiving Brevital Sodium. Dangerous side effects could occur.

Brevital Sodium side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your medical caregivers right away if you have:

  • severe burning or swelling where the medicine was injected;

  • fast heartbeats;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • muscle twitching; or

  • confusion, anxiety, or restless feeling when coming out of anesthesia.

Common side effects of Brevital Sodium may include:

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.

What other drugs will affect Brevital Sodium?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Brevital Sodium, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.