Name: Seconal

Adverse Effects

Frequency Not Defined














Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Butisol Sodium
  • Mysoline
  • Seconal

In Canada

  • Nova Rectal

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Elixir
  • Tablet
  • Suppository
  • Capsule
  • Enema
  • Suspension
  • Solution

Precautions While Using Seconal

If you will be using this medicine regularly for a long time:

  • Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits.
  • Do not stop using it without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to reduce gradually the amount you are using before stopping completely.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine .

Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of the metyrapone test may be affected by this medicine.

If you have been using this medicine for a long time and you think that you may have become mentally or physically dependent on it, check with your doctor. Some signs of mental or physical dependence on barbiturates are:

  • a strong desire or need to continue taking the medicine.
  • a need to increase the dose to receive the effects of the medicine.
  • withdrawal side effects (for example, anxiety or restlessness, convulsions [seizures], feeling faint, nausea or vomiting, trembling of hands, trouble in sleeping) occurring after the medicine is stopped.

If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of this medicine, get emergency help at once. Taking an overdose of a barbiturate or taking alcohol or other CNS depressants with the barbiturate may lead to unconsciousness and possibly death. Some signs of an overdose are severe drowsiness, severe confusion, severe weakness, shortness of breath or slow or troubled breathing, slurred speech, staggering, and slow heartbeat.

This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Even if taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert .

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) containing estrogen may not work properly if you take them while you are taking barbiturates. Unplanned pregnancies may occur. You should use a different or additional means of birth control while you are taking barbiturates. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.

Seconal Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Bleeding sores on lips
  • chest pain
  • fever
  • muscle or joint pain
  • red, thickened, or scaly skin
  • skin rash or hives
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth (painful)
  • sore throat and/or fever
  • swelling of eyelids, face, or lips
  • wheezing or tightness in chest

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
  • Confusion
  • mental depression
  • unusual excitement
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
With long-term or chronic use
  • Bone pain, tenderness, or aching
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle weakness
  • weight loss (unusual)
  • yellow eyes or skin
Symptoms of overdose
  • Confusion (severe)
  • decrease in or loss of reflexes
  • drowsiness (severe)
  • fever
  • irritability (continuing)
  • low body temperature
  • poor judgment
  • shortness of breath or slow or troubled breathing
  • slow heartbeat
  • slurred speech
  • staggering
  • trouble in sleeping
  • unusual movements of the eyes
  • weakness (severe)

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • "hangover" effect
Less common
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • constipation
  • feeling faint
  • headache
  • irritability
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nightmares or trouble in sleeping

Confusion, mental depression, and unusual excitement may be more likely to occur in very ill patients.

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. If you took this medicine in high doses or for a long time, this may take up to about 15 days. During this period of time check with your doctor if any of the following side effects occur (usually occur within 8 to 16 hours after medicine is stopped):

  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • feeling faint
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea or vomiting
  • trembling of hands
  • trouble in sleeping, increased dreaming, or nightmares
  • vision problems
  • weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Uses of Seconal

  • It is used to treat sleep problems.
  • It is used to calm you before care.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Seconal?

  • If you have an allergy to secobarbital or any other part of Seconal (secobarbital).
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: A block in the airway, liver disease, or shortness of breath.
  • If you have ever had porphyria.
  • If you do not have time to get a full night's sleep.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Seconal with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Seconal?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert after you take Seconal. You may still feel sleepy the day after you take this medicine. Avoid these tasks or actions until you feel fully awake.
  • Have your blood work checked if you are on Seconal for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • Use this medicine for short periods of time. If signs show up again, talk with the doctor.
  • If you have been taking Seconal for many weeks, talk with your doctor before stopping. You may want to slowly stop this medicine.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Seconal.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Some people have done certain tasks or actions while they were not fully awake like driving, making and eating food, and having sex. Most of the time, people do not remember doing these things. Tell your doctor if this happens to you.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this medicine with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking Seconal.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this medicine while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

For the Consumer

Applies to secobarbital: oral capsule

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Change in balance.
  • Change in how you act.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Bad dreams.
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • Memory problems or loss.