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Sodium Oxybate (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate Or GHB) Oral solution

It is used to treat excessive sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy

Generic Name: sodium oxybate

Brand Names: Xyrem

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

What is this medicine?

SODIUM OXYBATE (SOE dee um OX i bate) is used to treat excessive sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. Cataplexy causes a sudden muscle weakness due to a strong emotional response. This medicine is not available in retail pharmacies. Your doctor will enroll you in a program that will provide the drug to you.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • depression, psychosis, or other mood disorders
  • heart disease or high blood pressure
  • if you frequently drink alcohol containing beverages
  • if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • liver disease
  • lung disease or difficulty breathing
  • seizures
  • succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency
  • thoughts of suicide
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to sodium oxybate, 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. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medicine on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after food. Do not take with food. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Allow at least two and one-half hours between each nightly 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:
  • alcohol
  • barbiturates, like phenobarbital
  • medicines commonly used for anxiety, sedation or insomnia

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • bupropion
  • dronabinol or marijuana
  • medicines for psychosis or severe mood disturbances
  • muscle relaxants
  • other stimulants, although these are commonly used with sodium oxybate
  • prescription pain medicines, including tramadol

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

The use of this medicine requires careful supervision. Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine if you have been taking it for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms may occur. Your doctor or health care professional may need to slowly stop your doses.

This medicine may affect your concentration or function. Let your doctor or health care professional know if you have increased sleepiness or confusion during the day.

This medicine causes sleep very quickly. You should only take this drug at bedtime, while in bed. Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery or perform any activities that require mental alertness for at least 6 hours after taking this drug. Use extreme care in any such daily activities until you know how this medicine affects you.

Because alcohol may interfere with this medicine and may cause serious side effects, you must avoid alcohol-containing beverages while on this medicine. Do not take this medicine along with sleep medicines or other drugs with strong sedative effects, serious side effects may occur.

This medicine can be dangerous in overdose. If you take more than prescribed or take it by accident, get emergency medical help right away.


Last Updated: November 16, 2009
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