"Nov. 28, 2012 -- Merck's experimental sleep drug suvorexant helps insomniacs fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, early data suggest.
Later studies reported at a sleep conference last June confirmed the findings, says W. Joseph "...
(sodium oxybate) oral solution
Read this Medication Guide carefully before you start taking Xyrem and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your medical condition or your treatment.
What is the most important information I should know about Xyrem?
Xyrem can cause serious side effects including slow breathing or changes in your alertness. Do not drink alcohol or take medicines intended to make you fall asleep while you are taking Xyrem because they can make these side effects worse. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these serious side effects.
- The active ingredient of Xyrem is a form of
gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). GHB is a chemical that has been abused and
misused. Abuse and misuse of Xyrem can cause serious medical problems,
- trouble breathing
- changes in alertness
- Do not drive a car, use heavy machinery, fly an airplane, or do anything that is dangerous or that requires you to be fully awake for at least 6 hours after you take Xyrem. You should not do those activities until you know how Xyrem affects you.
- Xyrem is available only by prescription and filled through the central pharmacy in the Xyrem Success Program. Before you receive Xyrem, your doctor or pharmacist will make sure that you understand how to use Xyrem safely and effectively. If you have any questions about Xyrem, ask your doctor or call the Xyrem Success Program® at 1-866-997-3688.
What is Xyrem?
Xyrem is a prescription medicine used to treat the following symptoms in people who fall asleep frequently during the day, often at unexpected times (narcolepsy):
- suddenly weak or paralyzed muscles when they feel strong emotions (cataplexy)
- excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in people who have narcolepsy
- It is not known if Xyrem is safe and effective in children.
Xyrem is a controlled substance (CIII) because it contains sodium oxybate that can be a target for people who abuse prescription medicines or street drugs. Keep your Xyrem in a safe place to protect it from theft. Never give your Xyrem to anyone else because it may cause death or harm them. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
Who should not take Xyrem?
Do not take Xyrem if you:
- take other sleep medicines or sedatives (medicines that cause sleepiness)
- drink alcohol
- have a rare problem called succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency
Before you take Xyrem, tell your doctor if you:
- have short periods of not breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea)
- snore, have trouble breathing, or have lung problems. You may have a higher chance of having serious breathing problems when you take Xyrem.
- have or had depression or have tried to harm yourself. You should be watched carefully for new symptoms of depression.
- have liver problems
- are on a salt-restricted diet. Xyrem contains a lot of sodium (salt) and may not be right for you.
- have high blood pressure
- have heart failure
- have kidney problems
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Xyrem can harm your unborn baby.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Xyrem passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take Xyrem or breastfeed.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Especially, tell your doctor if you take other medicines to help you sleep (sedatives). Do not take medicines that make you sleepy with Xyrem.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How should I take Xyrem?
- Read the Instructions for Use at the end of this Medication Guide for detailed instructions on how to take Xyrem.
- Take Xyrem exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.
- Never change your Xyrem dose without talking to your doctor.
- Xyrem can cause sleep very quickly. You should fall asleep soon. Some patients fall asleep within 5 minutes and most fall asleep within 15 minutes. Some patients take less time to fall asleep and some take more time. The time it takes you to fall asleep might be different from night to night.
- Take your first Xyrem dose at bedtime while you are in bed. Take your second Xyrem dose 2 ½ to 4 hours after you take your first Xyrem dose. You may want to set an alarm clock to make sure you wake up to take your second Xyrem dose. You should remain in bed after taking the first and second doses of Xyrem.
- If you miss your second Xyrem dose, skip that dose and do not take Xyrem again until the next night. Never take 2 Xyrem doses at 1 time.
- Wait at least 2 hours after eating before you take Xyrem.
- You should see your doctor every 3 months for a check-up while taking Xyrem. Your doctor should check to see if Xyrem is helping to lessen your symptoms and if you feel any side effects while you take Xyrem.
- If you take too much Xyrem, call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
What are the possible side effects of Xyrem?
Xyrem can cause serious side effects, including:
- See “What is the most important information I should know about Xyrem?”
- Breathing problems, including:
- slower breathing
- trouble breathing
- short periods of not breathing while sleeping (sleep apnea). People who already have breathing or lung problems have a higher chance of having breathing problems when they use Xyrem.
- Mental health problems, including:
- seeing or hearing things that are not real (hallucinations)
- unusual or disturbing thoughts (abnormal thinking)
- feeling anxious or upset
- thoughts of killing yourself or trying to kill yourself
Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of mental health problems.
- Sleepwalking. Sleepwalking can cause injuries. Call your doctor if you start sleepwalking. Your doctor should check you.
The most common side effects of Xyrem include:
Your side effects may increase when you take higher doses of Xyrem. Xyrem can cause physical dependence and craving for the medicine when it is not taken as directed.
These are not all the possible side effects of Xyrem. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
How should I store Xyrem?
- Always store Xyrem in the original bottle or in pharmacy containers with child-resistant caps provided by the pharmacy.
- Keep Xyrem in a safe place out of the reach of children and pets.
- Get emergency medical help right away if a child drinks your Xyrem.
- Store Xyrem between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 24°C). When you
have finished using a Xyrem bottle:
- empty any unused Xyrem down the sink drain
- cross out the label on the Xyrem bottle with a marker
- place the empty Xyrem bottle in the trash
General information about the safe and effective use of Xyrem
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use Xyrem for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Xyrem to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them.
This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about Xyrem. If you would like more information, talk with your doctor. You can ask your pharmacist or doctor for information about Xyrem that is written for health professionals.
For more information, go to www.XYREM.com or call the Xyrem Success Program at 1-866-997-3688.
What are the ingredients in Xyrem?
Active Ingredients: sodium oxybate
Inactive Ingredients: purified water and malic acid
This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Instructions for Use
(sodium oxybate) oral solution
Read these Instructions for Use carefully before you start taking Xyrem and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your medical condition or your treatment.
- You will need to split your prescribed Xyrem dose into 2 separate pharmacy containers for mixing.
- You will need to mix Xyrem with water before you take your dose.
- Take your dose within 24 hours after mixing Xyrem with water. If you do not take your dose within this time, you will need to throw the mixture away.
Supplies you will need for mixing and taking Xyrem: See Figure A.
- bottle of your Xyrem medicine
- press-in bottle adaptor with straw attached
- syringe for drawing up your Xyrem dose
- a measuring cup containing about ¼ cup of water (not provided with your Xyrem prescription)
- 2 empty pharmacy containers with child-resistant caps
- alarm clock by your bedside (alarm clock may be included in your first shipment of Xyrem)
Step 1. Take the Xyrem bottle, press-in-bottle adaptor, and syringe out of the box.
Step 2. Remove the bottle cap from the Xyrem bottle by pushing down while turning the cap counterclockwise (to the left). See Figure B.
- The press-in-bottle adaptor may already be put in place by the pharmacy. If it is not already in place, you will have to do it yourself. After removing the cap from the Xyrem bottle, set the bottle upright on a tabletop.
- While holding the Xyrem bottle in its upright position, insert the press-inbottle-adaptor into the neck of the Xyrem bottle. See Figure C.
- Tilt the straw toward the edge of the bottom of the bottle to be sure you can draw out your dose of the medicine. You only need to do this the first time you open the bottle. See Figure D.
- After you draw out your dose of the medicine, leave the adaptor in the bottle for all your future uses. See Figure E.
- Take the syringe out of the plastic wrapper. Use only the syringe provided with your Xyrem prescription.
- While holding the Xyrem bottle upright on the tabletop, insert the tip of the syringe into the opening on top of the Xyrem bottle and press down firmly. See Figure F.
- Hold the bottle and syringe down with one hand, and draw up one-half (½) of your total prescribed nightly dose with the other hand by pulling up on the plunger. For example, if your total nightly dose of Xyrem is 4.5 grams a night, you will need to draw up 2 separate doses of 2.25 grams each, one for each pharmacy container. See Figure G.
Note: The Xyrem medicine will not flow into the syringe unless you keep the bottle upright.
- After you draw up each separate Xyrem dose, remove the syringe from the opening of the Xyrem bottle. Put the tip into 1 of the empty containers with child-resistant caps provided by the pharmacy.
- Make sure the pharmacy
container is empty and does not contain any medicine from your previous night's
- Empty each separate Xyrem dose into 1 of the empty pharmacy containers by pushing down on the plunger. (See Figure H).
- Using a measuring cup, pour about ¼ cup of water into each container. Be careful to add only water to each container and not more Xyrem. All shipped bottles of Xyrem contain the concentrated medicine. Water For mixing the medicine is not provided in the shipment.
- Place the child-resistant caps provided on the filled pharmacy containers and turn each cap clockwise (to the right) until it clicks and locks into its child-resistant position. See Figure I.
- Put the cap back on the Xyrem bottle and store it in a safe and secure place. Store in a locked place if needed. Keep Xyrem out of the reach of children and pets.
- Rinse the syringe out with water and squirt the liquid into the sink drain.
- At bedtime, and before you take your first Xyrem dose, put your second Xyrem dose in a safe place near your bed.
- You may want to set an alarm clock to make sure you wake up to take the second dose.
- When it is time to take your first Xyrem dose, remove the cap from the container by pressing down on the child-resistant locking tab and turning the cap counterclockwise (to the left).
- Drink all of your first Xyrem dose at bedtime. Put the cap back on the first container before lying down to sleep.
- You should fall asleep soon. Some patients fall asleep within 5 minutes and most fall asleep within 15 minutes. Some patients take less time to fall asleep, and some take more time. The time it takes you to fall asleep might be different from night to night.
- When you wake up 2½ to 4 hours later, take the cap off the second pharmacy container.
- If you wake up before the alarm and it has been at least 2½ hours since your first Xyrem dose, turn off your alarm and take your second Xyrem dose.
- While sitting in bed, drink all of the second Xyrem dose and put the cap back on the second pharmacy container before lying down to continue sleeping.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/28/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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