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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Somnote

Generic Name: chloral hydrate (Pronunciation: KLOR al HY drayt)

What is chloral hydrate (Somnote)?

Chloral hydrate is a hypnotic and a sedative medication that slows the activity of your central nervous system. Chloral hydrate has both fast-acting and long-lasting sedative effects.

Chloral hydrate is for short-term use as a sedative or sleep medicine. It is sometimes given before a surgery to help you relax.

Chloral hydrate may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of chloral hydrate (Somnote)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • shallow breathing;
  • weakness, lack of coordination; or
  • a red, blistering, peeling skin rash.

Other less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • drowsiness, deep sleep;
  • headache, or hangover feeling;
  • nausea, vomiting, indigestion, gas, stomach pain;
  • redness or drooping of your eyelids;
  • excitement or confusion;
  • mild itching or skin rash; or
  • unpleasant taste in your mouth;

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about chloral hydrate (Somnote)?

Before taking chloral hydrate, tell your doctor if you are using a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin). If you are using a blood thinner, you may not be able to take chloral hydrate, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

Chloral hydrate should be given only for a short time, such as 2 to 7 days in a row.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects: uneven heartbeats, shallow breathing, feeling light-headed, fainting, weakness, lack of coordination, or a red, blistering, peeling skin rash.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of chloral hydrate.

Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by chloral hydrate.

Chloral hydrate can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

This medication may be habit-forming. You may have severe or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when you stop using chloral hydrate after using it for 2 weeks or longer. Do not stop using this medication suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to gradually reduce the dose.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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