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Compared with thiamylal and thiopental, methohexital is at least twice as potent on a weight basis, and its duration of action is only about half as long. Although the metabolic fate of methohexital in the body is not clear, the drug does not appear to concentrate in fat depots to the extent that other barbiturate anesthetics do. Thus, cumulative effects are fewer and recovery is more rapid with methohexital than with thiobarbiturates. In experimental animals, the drug cannot be detected in the blood 24 hours after administration.
Methohexital differs chemically from the established barbiturate anesthetics in that it contains no sulfur. Little analgesia is conferred by barbiturates; their use in the presence of pain may result in excitation.
Intravenous administration of methohexital results in rapid uptake by the brain (within 30 seconds) and rapid induction of sleep.
Following intramuscular administration to pediatric patients, the onset of sleep occurs in 2 to 10 minutes. A plasma concentration of 3 μg/mL was achieved in pediatric patients 15 minutes after an intramuscular dose (10 mg/kg) of a 5% solution. Following rectal administration to pediatric patients, the onset of sleep occurs in 5 to 15 minutes. Plasma methohexital concentrations achieved following rectal administration tend to increase both with dose and with the use of more dilute solution concentrations when using the same dose. A 25 mg/kg dose of a 1% methohexital solution yielded plasma concentrations of 6.9 to 7.9 μg/mL 15 minutes after dosing. The absolute bioavailability of rectal methohexital sodium is 17%.
With single doses, the rate of redistribution determines duration of pharmacologic effect. Metabolism occurs in the liver through demethylation and oxidation. Side-chain oxidation is the most important biotransformation involved in termination of biologic activity. Excretion occurs via the kidneys through glomerular filtration.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/9/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Brevital Sodium Information
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