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Xyrem Side Effects

Generic Name: sodium oxybate

Note: This document contains side effect information about sodium oxybate. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Xyrem.

In Summary

Common side effects of Xyrem include: dizziness and nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to sodium oxybate: oral solution

Along with its needed effects, sodium oxybate (the active ingredient contained in Xyrem) 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:

Less Common

  • Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • rapid weight gain
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • unusual weight gain or loss

Incidence Not Known

  • Anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • dizziness
  • fast or pounding heartbeat
  • fever
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or rash
  • hoarseness
  • irritation
  • joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • pounding in the ears
  • redness of the skin
  • slow heartbeat
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • troubled 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

  • Alternating periods of shallow and deep breathing
  • bluish lips or skin, not breathing
  • clumsiness
  • coma
  • confusional, agitated combative state
  • consciousness, depressed
  • convulsions
  • drowsiness
  • generalized slowing of mental and physical activity
  • inability to hold bowel movement or urine
  • increased sweating
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • muscle aches or weakness
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • shivering
  • sleepiness
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • trembling or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weak or feeble pulse

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:

Less Common

  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • diarrhea
  • feeling drunk
  • irritability
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain

Incidence Not Known

  • Being forgetful
  • decreased appetite
  • difficulty with moving
  • muscle pain or stiffness

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to sodium oxybate: oral liquid

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Dizziness (up to 15%), headache

Common (1% to 10%): Confusion, somnolence, tremor, cataplexy paresthesia, disturbance in attention, sleep paralysis, balance disorder, hypoesthesia, sedation, dysgeusia, vertigo

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Myoclonus, amnesia, restless legs syndrome

Frequency not reported: CNS depression, convulsion

Postmarketing reports: Memory impairment[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression, anxiety, parasomnias (including sleepwalking), disorientation, irritability, abnormal dreams, confusional state, nightmares, sleep disorder, insomnia, middle insomnia, nervousness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Suicide attempt, paranoia, hallucination, abnormal thinking, agitation, initial insomnia

Frequency not reported: Abuse/misuse, psychosis, and suicidal ideation

Postmarketing reports: Panic attack[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pain, feeling drunk, peripheral edema, asthenia, fatigue, fall

Postmarketing reports: Hangover[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 20%), vomiting (up to 11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, upper abdominal pain, dry mouth

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Fecal incontinence[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pain in extremity, muscle spasms, arthralgia, back pain[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hyperhidrosis, rash

Frequency not reported: Urticaria[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Dyspnea, snoring, nasal congestion, nasopharyngitis, sinusitis

Frequency not reported: Respiratory depression and sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea[Ref]


The most commonly reported side effects were nausea, dizziness, vomiting, somnolence, enuresis, and tremor.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Palpitations, hypertension, increased blood pressure[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia, decreased appetite, decreased weight

Postmarketing reports: Fluid retention[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Blurred vision[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Enuresis nocturna, urinary incontinence[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. "Product Information. Xyrem (sodium oxybate)." Orphan Medical, Minnetonka, MN.

Further information

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.