Generic Name: methohexital (METH oh HEX i tal)
Brand Name: Brevital Sodium
Medically reviewed: March 10, 2017
What is Brevital Sodium?
Brevital Sodium is a barbiturate (bar-BIT-chur-ate). This medicine slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.
Brevital Sodium 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.
You should not use this medicine if you have a history of porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
Before taking this medicine
a history of porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
To make sure Brevital Sodium is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
anemia (lack of red blood cells);
an endocrine disorder;
high or low blood pressure;
heart disease, congestive heart failure; or
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Anesthesia medicine may affect brain development in a child under 3, or an unborn baby whose mother receives this medicine during late pregnancy. These effects may be more likely when the anesthesia is used for 3 hours or longer, or used for repeated procedures. Effects on brain development could cause learning or behavior problems later in life.
Negative brain effects from anesthesia have been seen in animal studies. However, studies in human children receiving single short uses of anesthesia have not shown a likely effect on behavior or learning. More research is needed.
In some cases, your doctor may decide to postpone a surgery or procedure based on these risks. Treatment may not be delayed in the case of life-threatening conditions, medical emergencies, or surgery needed to correct certain birth defects.
Ask your doctor for information about all medicines that will be used during your surgery or procedure. Also ask how long the procedure will last.
It is not known whether Brevital Sodium passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How is methohexital given?
Brevital Sodium is given as an injection into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. This medication is also given rectally when used in young children.
A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle 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 while you are receiving Brevital Sodium. 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?
Since Brevital Sodium is used as a single dose, it does not have a daily dosing schedule.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
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.
Do not drink alcohol just 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 caregivers right away if you have:
severe burning or swelling where the medicine was injected;
numbness or tingly feeling;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
weak or shallow breathing; or
confusion, anxiety, or restless feeling when coming out of anesthesia.
Side effects such as confusion, depression, or excitement may be more likely in older adults and those who are ill or debilitated.
Common side effects may include:
chills or shivering;
muscle twitching; or
mild skin rash or itching.
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 Brevital Sodium?
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:
phenytoin or other seizure medications;
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with methohexital, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01.
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- Drug class: general anesthetics