Sodium oxybate Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 4, 2020.
Commonly reported side effects of sodium oxybate include: dizziness and nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to sodium oxybate: oral solution
Oral route (Solution)
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depression and Abuse and MisuseCentral Nervous System DepressionSodium oxybate is a CNS depressant, and respiratory depression can occur with sodium oxybate use.Abuse and MisuseSodium oxybate is the sodium salt of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Abuse or misuse of illicit GHB is associated with CNS adverse reactions, including seizure, respiratory depression, decreased consciousness, coma, and death.Sodium oxybate is available only through a restricted program called the Xywav and Xyrem REMS.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, sodium oxybate may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking sodium oxybate:
- sleep walking
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- changes in behavior
- choking or gasping sounds
- daytime sleepiness or tiredness
- lack of appetite
- loud or frequent snoring
- rapid weight gain
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- thoughts of killing oneself
- trouble sleeping
- unusual weight gain or loss
- waking to urinate at night
Incidence not known
- Being forgetful
- blurred vision
- decrease in the amount of urine
- hives, itching, skin rash
- increase urge to urinate at night
- joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
- noisy, rattling breathing
- pounding in the ears
- redness of the skin
- swelling of the face, fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
- tightness in the chest
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- weight gain
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking sodium oxybate:
Symptoms of overdose
- bluish lips or skin, not breathing
- chest pain or discomfort
- confusional, agitated combative state
- generalized slowing of mental and physical activity
- inability to hold bowel movement or urine
- increased sweating
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- loss of consciousness
- muscle aches or weakness
- shakiness and unsteady walk
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- trembling or other problems with muscle control or coordination
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weak or feeble pulse
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of sodium oxybate may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- difficulty passing urine (dribbling)
- increased frequency, urgency, or burning on urination
- increased sweating
- Dry mouth
Incidence not known
- Difficulty with moving
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to sodium oxybate: oral liquid
Very common (10% or more): Dizziness (up to 20%), headache (up to 20%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Amnesia, myoclonus, restless legs syndrome
Frequency not reported: Central nervous system depression, convulsion, dyskinesia, loss of consciousness
Postmarketing reports: Memory impairment[Ref]
Disturbance in attention and paresthesia were dose-related, with the side effects occurring more frequently at 9 g/day.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 20%), vomiting (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain upper, diarrhea, dry mouth, upper abdominal pain
Nausea and vomiting were dose-related, with the side effects occurring more frequently at 9 g/day.
The frequency of nausea was higher in women than in men.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Enuresis (up to 18%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abnormal dreams, anxiety, confusional state, depression, disorientation, enuresis nocturna, insomnia, irritability, middle insomnia, nervousness, nightmares, sleep disorder, sleepwalking
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal thinking, agitation, hallucination, initial insomnia, paranoia, psychosis, suicide attempt
Frequency not reported: Abuse, affect lability, aggression, bipolar disorder, bruxism, delusion, euphoric mood, homicidal ideation, increased libido, mania, other behavioral adverse reactions, other psychiatric adverse reactions, parasomnias, psychotic disorders, panic attack, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep-related eating disorder, suicidal ideation, suicidality, tactile hallucination[Ref]
Disorientation, enuresis, irritability, and sleepwalking were dose-related, with the side effects occurring more frequently at 9 g/day.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Weight decreased (up to 12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia, decreased appetite
Feeling drunk was dose-related, with the side effect occurring more frequently at 9 g/day.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, fall, fatigue, feeling drunk, pain
Frequency not reported: Misuse, tinnitus
Postmarketing reports: Hangover[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Hyperhidrosis, rash
Common (1% to 10%): Urinary incontinence
Frequency not reported: Micturition urgency, nocturia, pollakiuria[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Blurred vision[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity
1. "Product Information. Xyrem (sodium oxybate)." Orphan Medical, Minnetonka, MN.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
Frequently asked questions
- How does Xyrem work for narcolepsy?
- How much sodium is in Xyrem?
- Is Xyrem a controlled substance / narcotic drug of abuse?
- Can any doctor prescribe Xyrem?
- Can you take Xyrem while pregnant?
More about sodium oxybate
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 111 Reviews
- Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.