chloral hydrate rectal (generic name)

It is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia
(klor al HI drate)
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What is this medicine?

CHLORAL HYDRATE (klor al HI drate) is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. This medicine may also be used to decrease anxiety or make you sleep before a procedure or test. It also helps prevent or treat some of the symptoms caused by alcohol withdrawal. It is also given in combination with barbiturates during the first stage of labor to cause sedation or sleep.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • history of a drug or alcohol abuse problem
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • mental depression
  • porphyria
  • stomach or intestinal disease or digestive problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to chloral hydrate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for rectal use only. Do not take by mouth. Wash your hands before and after use. Take off the foil wrapping. Wet the tip of the suppository with cold tap water to make it easier to use. Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach. Lift upper buttock to expose the rectal area. Apply gentle pressure to insert the suppository completely into the rectum, pointed end first. Hold buttocks together for a few seconds. Remain lying down for about 15 minutes to avoid having the suppository come out. Do not use more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply if you are using this before a procedure.

If you are using this medicine regularly and you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • disulfiram

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • alcohol
  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures
  • furosemide
  • medicines for anxiety or sleeping problems, such as diazepam or temazepam
  • medicines for hay fever and other allergies
  • medicines for pain
  • warfarin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This medicine is not generally for use on a regular basis.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • confusion
  • fever, chills, or sore throat
  • hallucinations, nightmares
  • staggering, tremors
  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, or 'hangover'
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach upset

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Last Updated: March 31, 2009
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