This medication is used to calm you just before surgery or other procedures. It belongs to a class of drugs known as hypnotics. It works by affecting certain parts of the brain to cause calmness.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 30 minutes before your surgery/procedure. Follow your doctor's directions for how much liquid or food you can have before your procedure.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Mix your dose with a full glass of water or other liquid (such as fruit juice, ginger ale) before taking it.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.
Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as sweating, trembling, anxiety, confusion, seizures, and hallucinations) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. Withdrawal from chloral hydrate can be severe (rarely fatal). To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Drowsiness and trouble waking up in the morning, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and headache may occur. Stomach problems can be reduced by taking chloral hydrate with a full glass of water. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: slow/shallow breathing, mental/mood changes (such as confusion, thinking that others wish to harm you), sleep-walking, staggering walk/loss of balance, severe dizziness, fainting.
Long-term use may cause serious stomach problems (gastritis) or kidney problems. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: vomit that looks like coffee grounds, difficult/painful swallowing, black/tarry stools, severe stomach/abdominal pain, change in the amount of urine.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking chloral hydrate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: alcohol/drug abuse, heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, mental/mood conditions (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), irritation of the swallowing tube (esophagus), stomach problems (such as ulcer, gastritis), a certain blood/liver disease (porphyria), breathing problems (such as sleep apnea).
This drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Very severe side effects from use with alcohol may include inability to wake up and slowed breathing. Drinking alcohol may also result in severe stomach upset/cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, or flushing.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness and confusion. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring.
To help your doctor and pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin).
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
Chloral hydrate may interfere with certain urine laboratory tests (such as certain tests for sugar, catecholamines, 17-hydroxycorticosteroids). Make sure that all your doctors and laboratory personnel know that you are taking chloral hydrate.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: irregular heartbeat, fainting, inability to wake up, slowed breathing, bluish/cold skin.
Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.
Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Different brands of this medication may have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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