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All about: Pentothal

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Generic Name: Thiopental (thye-oh-PEN-tol)
Brand Name: Pentothal

Pentothal is used for:

Causing drowsiness or sleep before surgery or certain medical procedures. It is also used to stop seizures. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Pentothal is a barbiturate. It works by depressing the central nervous system, causing mild sedation or sleep, depending on the dose.

Do NOT use Pentothal if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Pentothal
  • you have the blood disease porphyria
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Pentothal :

Some medical conditions may interact with Pentothal . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney or liver problems, lung or respiratory tract disease, heart problems, low blood pressure, adrenal gland problems (eg, Addison disease), asthma, myasthenia gravis, thyroid problems, or increased pressure in the brain
  • if you have a history of substance abuse or dependence, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Pentothal . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), probenecid, or sodium oxybate (GHB) because side effects may be increased
  • Aminophylline, beta-blockers (eg, atenolol), clozapine, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), doxycycline, estrogens (eg, micronized estradiol), griseofulvin, metronidazole, narcotic pain medicine (eg, codeine), oral contraceptives (birth control pills), phenytoin, quinidine, theophylline, valproic acid, or zimelidine because their effectiveness may be reduced by Pentothal

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Pentothal may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Pentothal :

Use Pentothal as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Pentothal is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • If Pentothal contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Pentothal , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Pentothal .

Important safety information:

  • Pentothal causes drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Pentothal . Using Pentothal alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking Pentothal . Pentothal will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
  • Pentothal may decrease the effectiveness of your birth control pill. To prevent pregnancy, be sure to use an additional form of birth control while using Pentothal .
  • Use Pentothal with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially drowsiness, depression, or confusion.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Pentothal has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Pentothal during pregnancy. Pentothal is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Pentothal , check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

When used for longer than a few weeks or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking Pentothal . This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.

Possible side effects of Pentothal :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Clumsiness; dizziness; lightheadedness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; hallucinations; severe dizziness; very slow breathing.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Pentothal :

Pentothal is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Pentothal at home, store Pentothal as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Pentothal , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pentothal is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Pentothal . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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