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  • Generic Name: (secobarbital sodium)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 07/2014
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Seconal is a medicine used for the short-term treatment of insomnia (trouble sleeping). Seconal may also be used before surgery.

      Seconal is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Seconal works by slowing down your brain activity, thereby producing a calming effect.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: By producing a calming effect, Seconal may help to improve your sleep.

      When: Seconal may start working within 10 to 15 minutes.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may ask you questions from time to time to assess your sleep pattern.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      More common side effects may include: drowsiness.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Getting up out of bed while not being fully awake and engaging in activities that you do not know you are doing (such as driving a car [“sleep driving”], making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, or sleep-walking).

      Abnormal thoughts and behavior with symptoms such as being more outgoing than usual, increased aggressiveness, confusion, memory loss, agitation, hallucinations, anxiety, worsening of your depression, or suicidal thoughts or actions.

      Harm to your unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

      Seconal has abuse potential. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider for more information about abuse and addiction.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Seconal if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to similar medicines (such as butalbital).

      Do not take Seconal if you have a history of porphyria (a blood disorder), liver problems, or breathing problems with shortness of breath.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Seconal. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have sudden or long-term pain; kidney, liver, or breathing problems; a history of depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or drug or alcohol abuse or addiction; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.


      Adults: The usual dose is 100 milligrams (mg) at bedtime.

      Before Surgery

      Adults: The usual dose is 200 to 300 mg 1 to 2 hours before surgery.

      Children: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.

      If you are elderly or have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Seconal exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      If you do not feel an improvement in your condition after 7 to 10 days, notify your healthcare provider.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not drink alcohol or take medicines that make you sleepy without first checking with your healthcare provider.

      Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Seconal affects you.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Seconal is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Seconal may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Seconal can harm your unborn baby if you take it during pregnancy, and can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      Seconal should be taken under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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    This discount plan is NOT insurance or a Medicare prescription drug plan. The plan is not intended as a substitute for insurance and does not meet creditable coverage requirements under state or federal law. The plan provides discounts at participating pharmacies on certain pharmaceutical supplies, prescription drugs, or medical equipment and supplies. The range of discounts will vary depending on the products received. Members are obligated to pay the pharmacy the entire amount of the discounted rate for such products at the point of sale. The plan does not pay pharmacies for products provided to members. No enrollment or periodic fees apply. The pharmacy may pay the plan a fee from amounts the pharmacy collects from the member. The discount plan organization is ProCare Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Inc.,1267 Professional Parkway, ProCare Office Park, Gainesville, GA 30507, 1-888-299-5383. Customer service is provided by PDR, LLC., 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ, 07645, 1-800-232-7379, www.pdr.net/DiscountCard, customerservice@pdr.net.