Drugs A - Z

Chloral Hydrate Oral capsule

It is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia

Generic Name: chloral hydrate

Brand Names: Somnote

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

Genotoxic and may be carcinogenic in mice; should not be used when less potentially dangerous agents would be effective.

What is this medicine?

CHLORAL HYDRATE (klor al HI drate) is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. This medicine may also be used to decrease anxiety or make you sleep before a procedure or test. It also helps prevent or treat some of the symptoms caused by alcohol withdrawal.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • history of a drug or alcohol abuse problem
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • mental depression
  • porphyria
  • stomach or intestinal disease or digestive problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to chloral hydrate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your doses at regular intervals after meals or as directed. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. If you have been taking this medicine regularly for some time, do not suddenly stop taking it. You must gradually reduce the dose or you may get severe side effects. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this medicine may be prescribed for children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply if you are taking this before a procedure.

If you are taking this medicine regularly and you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • disulfiram

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • alcohol
  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures
  • furosemide
  • medicines for anxiety or sleeping problems, such as diazepam or temazepam
  • medicines for hay fever and other allergies
  • medicines for pain
  • warfarin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • confusion
  • fever, chills, or sore throat
  • hallucinations, nightmares
  • staggering, tremors
  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, or 'hangover'
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach upset

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and against the law.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: March 31, 2009
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