Seconal Sodium Side Effects Center

Last updated on RxList: 7/26/2022
Seconal Sodium Side Effects Center

What Is Seconal Sodium?

Seconal Sodium (secobarbital sodium) is a barbiturate used to short-term to treat insomnia, or as a sedative before surgery.

What Are Side Effects of Seconal Sodium?

Common side effects of Seconal Sodium include:

  • unwanted sleepiness,
  • trouble waking up,
  • drowsiness,
  • dizziness,
  • excitation,
  • headache,
  • tiredness,
  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • problems with memory or concentration,
  • excitement (especially in children or older adults),
  • upset stomach,
  • constipation, or
  • "hangover" effect (drowsiness the day after a dose).

Seconal Sodium may cause serious side effects including:

  • hives,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat,
  • sleep walking,
  • unusual thoughts or behavior,
  • new or worsening depression,
  • confusion,
  • hallucinations,
  • anxiety,
  • agitation, and
  • thoughts of self-harm

Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects:

  • Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • Serious heart symptoms such as fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in your chest; shortness of breath; and sudden dizziness, lightheartedness, or passing out;
  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors.

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

Dosage for Seconal Sodium

Dosages of barbiturates must be individualized with full knowledge of their particular characteristics. Factors of consideration are the patient's age, weight, and condition.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Seconal Sodium?

Seconal Sodium may interact with:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Corticosteroids
  • Griseofulvin
  • Doxycycline
  • Phenytoin, Sodium Valproate, Valproic Acid
  • CNS Depressants
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Estradiol, Estrone, Progesterone, and Other Steroidal Hormones

Seconal Sodium During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

Barbiturates can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Retrospective, case-controlled studies have suggested that there may be a connection between the maternal consumption of barbiturates and a higher than expected incidence of fetal abnormalities. Barbiturates readily cross the placental barrier and are distributed throughout fetal tissues; the highest concentrations are found in the placenta, fetal liver, and brain. Fetal blood levels approach maternal blood levels following parenteral administration.

Withdrawal symptoms occur in infants born to women who receive barbiturates throughout the last trimester of pregnancy. If Seconal Sodium (secobarbital sodium capsules) is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Tell your doctor about all of your health conditions, including if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Seconal Sodium 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.

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.

SLIDESHOW

Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow
Seconal Sodium Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, walking, making phone calls, or having sex and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking secobarbital and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Stop using secobarbital and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • new or worsening depression;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • anxiety, agitation; or
  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.

The sedative effects of secobarbital may be stronger in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness, feeling tired;
  • "hangover" effect (drowsiness the day after a dose);
  • headache, dizziness;
  • memory problems;
  • dry mouth;
  • upset stomach; or
  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children).

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.

QUESTION

Why do we sleep? See Answer
Seconal Sodium Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The following adverse reactions and their incidences were compiled from surveillance of thousands of hospitalized patients who received barbiturates. Because such patients may be less aware of some of the milder adverse effects of barbiturates, the incidence of these reactions may be somewhat higher in fully ambulatory patients.

More than 1 in 100 Patients

The most common adverse reaction estimated to occur at a rate of 1 to 3 patients per 100 is the following:

Nervous System: Somnolence

Less than 1 in 100 Patients

Adverse reactions estimated to occur at a rate of less than 1 in 100 patients are listed below, grouped by organ system and by decreasing order of occurrence:

Nervous System: Agitation, confusion, hyperkinesia, ataxia, CNS depression, nightmares, nervousness, psychiatric disturbance, hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, abnormality in thinking

Respiratory System: Hypoventilation, apnea

Cardiovascular System: Bradycardia, hypotension, syncope

Digestive System: Nausea, vomiting, constipation

Other Reported Reactions: Headache, injection site reactions, hypersensitivity reactions (angioedema, skin rashes, exfoliative dermatitis), fever, liver damage, megaloblastic anemia following chronic phenobarbital use

Drug Abuse And Dependence

Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Abuse is characterized by misuse of the drug for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug and/or administration of an antagonist. Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of the drug's effects over time. Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs and may develop at different rates for different effects.

Addiction is primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, but relapse is common.

Controlled substance

Seconal Sodium (secobarbital sodium capsules) Capsules are a Schedule II drug.

Dependence

Barbiturates may be habit-forming; tolerance, psychological dependence, and physical dependence may occur, especially following prolonged use of high doses of barbiturates. Daily administration in excess of 400 mg of secobarbital for approximately 90 days is likely to produce some degree of physical dependence. A dosage of 600 to 800 mg for at least 35 days is sufficient to produce withdrawal seizures. The average daily dose for the barbiturate addict is usually about 1.5 g. As tolerance to barbiturates develops, the amount needed to maintain the same level of intoxication increases; tolerance to a fatal dosage, however, does not increase more than twofold. As this occurs, the margin between intoxicating dosage and fatal dosage becomes smaller.

Symptoms of acute intoxication with barbiturates include unsteady gait, slurred speech, and sustained nystagmus. Mental signs of chronic intoxication include confusion, poor judgment, irritability, insomnia, and somatic complaints.

Symptoms of barbiturate dependence are similar to those of chronic alcoholism. If an individual appears to be intoxicated with alcohol to a degree that is radically disproportionate to the amount of alcohol in his or her blood, the use of barbiturates should be suspected. The lethal dose of a barbiturate is far less if alcohol is also ingested.

The symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal can be severe and may cause death. Minor withdrawal symptoms may appear 8 to 12 hours after the last dose of a barbiturate. These symptoms usually appear in the following order: anxiety, muscle twitching, tremor of hands and fingers, progressive weakness, dizziness, distortion in visual perception, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and orthostatic hypotension. Major withdrawal symptoms (convulsions and delirium) may occur within 16 hours and last up to 5 days after abrupt cessation of barbiturates. Intensity of withdrawal symptoms gradually declines over a period of approximately 15 days. Individuals susceptible to barbiturate abuse and dependence include alcoholics and opiate abusers, as well as other sedative-hypnotic and amphetamine abusers.

Drug dependence on barbiturates arises from repeated administration on a continuous basis, generally in amounts exceeding therapeutic dose levels. The characteristics of drug dependence on barbiturates include the following: (a) a strong desire or need to continue taking the drug; (b) a tendency to increase the dose; (c) a psychic dependence on the effects of the drug related to subjective and individual appreciation of those effects; and (d) a physical dependence on the effects of the drug, requiring its presence for maintenance of homeostasis and resulting in a definite, characteristic, and self-limited abstinence syndrome when the drug is withdrawn. Treatment of barbiturate dependence consists of cautious and gradual withdrawal of the drug. Barbiturate-dependent patients can be withdrawn by using a number of withdrawal regimens. In all cases, withdrawal takes an extended period. One method involves substituting a 30 mg dose of phenobarbital for each 100 to 200 mg dose of barbiturate that the patient has been taking. The total daily amount of phenobarbital is then administered in 3 or 4 divided doses, not to exceed 600 mg daily. Should signs of withdrawal occur on the first day of treatment, a loading dose of 100 to 200 mg of phenobarbital may be administered IM in addition to the oral dose. After stabilization on phenobarbital, the total daily dose is decreased by 30 mg a day as long as withdrawal is proceeding smoothly. A modification of this regimen involves initiating treatment at the patient's regular dosage level and decreasing the daily dosage by 10% as tolerated by the patient.

Infants that are physically dependent on barbiturates may be given phenobarbital, 3 to 10 mg/kg/day. After withdrawal symptoms (hyperactivity, disturbed sleep, tremors, and hyperreflexia) are relieved, the dosage of phenobarbital should be gradually decreased and completely withdrawn over a 2-week period.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Seconal Sodium (Secobarbital Sodium Capsules)

© Seconal Sodium Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Seconal Sodium Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors