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Chloral Hydrate

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Sedative chloral hydrate is used to reduce anxiety and induce sleep prior to surgery as well as for the short-term treatment of insomnia (to help you fall asleep and stay asleep for a decent rest). Moreover, it is employed to manage pain during surgery and alcohol withdrawal.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you’re interested in using this drug for any other conditions.

How should this medicine be used?

Chloral hydrate is available as a suppository to insert rectally as well as a liquid and pill for oral use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. As recommended, take the chloral hydrate. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Drink the mixture right away after mixing it with a half glass of water, fruit juice, or ginger ale.

Do not chew the capsule; instead, swallow it whole with a full glass of water or fruit juice.

Follow these steps to use the suppository:

  1. Take the wrapping off.
  2. Water should be applied to the suppository’s tip.
  3. Raise your right knee to your chest while lying on your left side. (If you are left-handed, you should lie on your right side and lift your left leg.)
  4. With the aid of your finger, place the suppository approximately 1/2 to 1 inch (1.25 to 2.5 centimetres) into the rectum of infants and children, and 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) into the rectum of adults. Keep it there for a short while.
  5. After about fifteen minutes, get up. Continue your regular activities after giving your hands a thorough wash.

Chloral hydrate can become habit-forming; for this reason, never take it in bigger amounts or for longer than your doctor has prescribed. Even if you feel good, keep taking chloral hydrate. In particular, if you have been taking substantial dosages of chloral hydrate for a while, do not discontinue taking it without first consulting your doctor. Your dose will probably be reduced gradually by your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking chloral hydrate,

  • If you have any drug allergies, including those to aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow dye found in several processed foods and medications), or chloral hydrate, let your doctor and pharmacist know right once.
  • In particular, mention anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) like warfarin (Coumadin), antihistamines, furosemide (Lasix), drugs for depression or seizures, sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquillizers, and vitamins to your doctor and pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor if you have asthma, renal or liver disease, heart or stomach issues, a history of drug or alcohol misuse, or any of these conditions.
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking chloral hydrate.
  • Inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking chloral hydrate if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
  • You should be aware that this medication might make you sleepy. Until you are certain of how this medication affects you, do not operate machinery or drive a car.
  • Keep in mind that drinking can exacerbate the effects of this drug’s sedation.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Chloral hydrate may cause an upset stomach. Take chloral hydrate with food or milk.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

When you recall to take a missing dose, do not. Skip it entirely, and then take the following dose at the usual time.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from chloral hydrate are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Drowsiness
  • Uneasy stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Body rash
  • Itching
  • Confusion
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Sluggish heartbeat
  • Extreme fatigue

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it at room temperature and away from moisture and excessive heat (not in the bathroom). Don’t freeze; shield the liquid from light.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medications website at for additional information.

Although many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Moreover, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your doctor’s appointments.

Test your urine for sugar using TesTape or Clinistix if you have diabetes. Clinitest should not be used as chloral hydrate can result in inaccurate results.

No one else should take your medication. The substance chloral hydrate is under control. Only a limited amount of refills are permitted for prescriptions; if you have any doubts, speak with your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Aquachloral®
  • Chloralum®
  • Somnote®
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