Generic Name: Secobarbital

  • What is Seconal?

    Seconal is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It is also used as a pre-anesthetic in certain medical procedures.
  • What is the most important information I should know about Seconal?

    Complex behaviors such as "sleep driving" (driving while not fully awake after taking this medication, or other similar medications, with amnesia of the event) have been reported. Although behaviors such as sleep driving may occur with this medication alone, the use of alcohol and other depressants, such as narcotics, tranquilizers, and antihistamines, increase the risk of such behavior. If any such acts occur, notify your doctor immediately.

    Seconal may be habit-forming; tolerance and physical dependence may occur with continued use. Do not increase the dose of the drug without consulting with your physician. If you have a history of drug abuse, consult with your physician before taking Seconal.

    Seconal may impair your mental and/or physical abilities required for potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a car or operating machinery.

  • Who should not take Seconal?

    You should not take Seconal if you are hypersensitive to barbiturates.

    Seconal should not be taken if you have marked impairment of liver function or certain respiratory diseases.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Seconal?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Seconal. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially past or current liver problems, drug abuse, and acute or chronic pain. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Dosages of barbiturates vary on a patient to patient basis. Your doctor will prescribe you an appropriate dose based on your age, weight and condition.


    Adults: 100 milligrams (mg) at bedtime.

    Elderly: Dosage will be reduced for elderly patients because they are more sensitive to barbiturates.

    Presurgical anesthesia

    Adults: 200 to 300 mg 1 to 2 hours before surgery.

  • How should I take Seconal?

    Take Seconal as directed by your physician. It is usually taken once at bedtime.
  • What should I avoid while taking Seconal?

    Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Seconal; also avoid taking any other medications that may cause drowsiness or decrease your alertness.

    Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Seconal?

    If Seconal is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Seconal with the following: antihistamines, blood thinners such as warfarin, corticosteroids, doxycycline, griseofulvin, phenytoin, steroid hormones, tranquilizers, and valproic acid.
  • What are the possible side effects of Seconal?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: agitation, confusion, nightmares, anxiety, dizziness, hallucinations, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, nausea, vomiting

  • Can I receive Seconal if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Barbiturates such as Seconal can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Barbiturates cross the placenta and high concentrations are found in the fetal liver and brain. Consult with your physician before breastfeeding while taking Seconal.
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Seconal?

    If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and resume your normal dosage schedule.
  • How should I store Seconal?

    Store at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.