Secobarbital is used on a short-term basis to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). It is also used to relieve anxiety before surgery. Secobarbital is in a class of medications called barbiturates. It works by slowing activity in the brain.
Secobarbital comes as a capsule to take by mouth. When secobarbital is used to treat insomnia, it is usually taken at bedtime as needed for sleep. When secobarbital is used to relieve anxiety before surgery, it is usually taken 1 to 2 hours before surgery. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take secobarbital exactly as directed.
Your sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after you start taking secobarbital. Call your doctor if your sleep problems do not improve during this time, if they get worse at any time during your treatment, or if you notice any changes in your thoughts or behavior.
Secobarbital should normally be taken for short periods of time. If you take secobarbital for 2 weeks or longer, secobarbital may not help you sleep as well as it did when you first began to take the medication. If you take secobarbital for a long time, you may also develop dependence ('addiction,' a need to continue taking the medication) on secobarbital. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking secobarbital for 2 weeks or longer. Do not take a larger dose of secobarbital, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking secobarbital without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking secobarbital, you may develop anxiety, muscle twitching, uncontrollable shaking of your hands or fingers, weakness, dizziness, changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or you may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures or extreme confusion.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking secobarbital,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Secobarbital is usually taken at bedtime. If you forget to take secobarbital at bedtime, you are unable to fall asleep, and you will still be able to stay in bed for a full night's sleep, you may take secobarbital at that time. Do not take a double dose of secobarbital to make up for a missed dose.
Secobarbital may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Secobarbital may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems during your treatment with secobarbital.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Store secobarbital in a safe place so that no one else can take it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how many capsules are left so you will know if any are missing.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to secobarbital.
This prescription is not refillable.
Do not let anyone else take your medication.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: June 15, 2017.