Medically reviewed by A Ras MD.
What is Seconal used for?
Seconal is a prescription medicine that is used to treat sleep problems. It is used to calm you before a procedure.
The barbiturates are nonselective central nervous system (CNS) depressants that are primarily used as sedative hypnotics. In subhypnotic doses, they are also used as anticonvulsants. The barbiturates and their sodium salts are subject to control under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Seconal Sodium® (Secobarbital Sodium Capsules, USP) is a barbituric acid derivative and occurs as a white, odorless, bitter powder that is very soluble in water, soluble in alcohol, and practically insoluble in ether. Chemically, the drug is sodium 5-allyl-5-(1-methylbutyl) barbiturate, with the molecular formula C12H17N2NaO3. Its molecular weight is 260.27. The structural formula is as follows:
Each capsule contains 100 mg (0.38 mmol) of secobarbital sodium. It also contains dimethicone, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 10, gelatin, magnesium stearate, pregelatinized starch, and titanium dioxide.
Before taking Seconal, tell your doctor:
For all uses of Seconal:
- If you are allergic to Seconal; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: A block in the airway, liver disease, or shortness of breath.
- If you have ever had porphyria.
- If you are taking any other drugs that can make you sleepy. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- If you do not have time to get a full night’s sleep.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Seconal with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Seconal?
For all uses of Seconal:
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Seconal. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert after you take Seconal. You may still feel sleepy the day after you take Seconal. Avoid these tasks or actions until you feel fully awake.
- This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Seconal.
- Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
- Some people have done certain tasks or actions while they were not fully awake like driving, making and eating food, and having sex. Most of the time, people do not remember doing these things. Tell your doctor if this happens to you.
- If you are 65 or older, use Seconal with care. You could have more side effects.
- Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking Seconal.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking Seconal, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
- Have your blood work checked if you are on Seconal for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
- When sleep drugs are used nightly for more than a few weeks, they may not work as well to help sleep problems. This is known as tolerance. Only use sleep drugs for a short time. If sleep problems last, call the doctor.
- If you have been taking Seconal for many weeks, talk with your doctor before stopping. You may want to slowly stop Seconal.
How is Seconal best taken?
Use Seconal as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Use Seconal only for short periods of time (7 to 10 days).
- If you still have trouble sleeping after 7 to 10 days, call your doctor.
- Take Seconal at bedtime.
- Take Seconal right before you get into bed.
- Do not take Seconal unless you can get a full night’s sleep (at least 7 to 8 hours) before you need to be active again.
- Take Seconal before surgery as you have been told by your doctor.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you take Seconal on a regular basis, take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If you will not be able to get a full night’s sleep (at least 7 hours) after taking the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times Seconal is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are the side effects of Seconal that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- New or worse behavior or mood changes like depression or thoughts of killing yourself.
- Feeling confused.
- Feeling agitated.
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
- Memory problems or loss.
What are some other side effects of Seconal?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling sleepy.
- Feeling sleepy the next day.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Seconal?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
SRC: NLM .