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Discontinued Warning IconPlease Note: This Brand Name drug is no longer available in the US.
(Generic versions may still be available.)

Pentothal Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 8/28/2015

Pentothal (thiopental sodium for injection) is a barbiturate used to help patients relax before receiving general anesthesia with an inhaled medication. The brand name drug Pentothal is no longer available in the U.S. Generic versions may be available. Common side effects of Pentothal (thiopental sodium) include coughing, sneezing, hiccups, slowed breathing, slow heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, prolonged sleepiness and recovery, and shivering.

Thiopental is administered intravenously (IV) and the patient is monitored. Dose is adjusted according to the patient's age, sex, and weight. Thiopental may interact with blood pressure medications, diuretics (water pills), probenecid, diazoxide, zimelidine, opioid analgesics, aminophylline, or midazolam. Tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you use. Thiopental should only be used during pregnancy if prescribed. It may be harmful to a fetus. This medication can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. Thiopental may be habit-forming.

Our Pentothal (Thiopental Sodium for Injection, USP) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Pentothal in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

You will remain under constant supervision during treatment with thiopental. Your caregivers will watch for any serious side effects.

Tell your caregivers at once if you feel severe pain while receiving this medication.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • coughing;
  • sneezing; or
  • hiccups.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Pentothal (Thiopental Sodium)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Pentothal FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


Pentothal (thiopental sodium)

Adverse reactions include respiratory depression, myocardial depression, cardiac arrhythmias, prolonged somnolence and recovery, sneezing, coughing, bronchospasm, laryngospasm and shivering. Anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions to Pentothal (thiopental sodium) (Thiopental Sodium for Injection, USP) have been reported. Symptoms, e.g., urticaria, bronchospasm, vasodilation and edema should be managed by conventional means.

Rarely, immune hemolytic anemia with renal failure and radial nerve palsy have been reported.



Thiopental sodium is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.

Diluents in Pentothal (thiopental sodium) ® Kits

Ready-To-Mix Syringes and Vials
(For preparing solutions of Thiopental Sodium for Injection, USP)

Reactions which may occur because of the diluents, technique of preparation or mixing, or administration of reconstituted solutions of Pentothal (thiopental sodium) include febrile response or infection at the site of injection, venous thrombosis or phlebitis extending from the site of injection and extravasation.

If an adverse reaction does occur, discontinue the injection, evaluate the patient, institute appropriate therapeutic countermeasures and save the remainder of unused solution (or the used container or syringe) for examination if deemed necessary.


None known.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Pentothal (Thiopental Sodium)

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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