Seconal

(secobarbital)

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Helps you sleep, and get rid of anxiety before you have major surgery.

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Our bottom line

Seconal (secobarbital) is approved for sleep, but can be very addictive and only works for 2 weeks.

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Quick facts about Seconal
  • Drug class: Neuro/psych
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Upsides

  • As a medicine used before surgery, Seconal (secobarbital) can help relieve your anxiety.
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Downsides

  • Seconal (secobarbital) is not a first-choice medicine for insomnia because it's very addictive and only works well for 2 weeks.
  • In studies comparing Seconal (secobarbital) with other medicines for insomnia, it was shown to not work as well as other medicines for falling asleep and staying asleep.
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What to expect from Seconal, on one page

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How it works

Seconal (secobarbital) is a barbiturate. It helps you fall asleep by relaxing the part of your brain responsible for your sleep cycle.

Quick facts about Seconal
  • Drug class: Neuro/psych
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Pill
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Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Seconal (secobarbital) for Insomnia

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  • Possible side effects
  • Dependence and addiction
  • Behavior changes
  • Confusion
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Side effect rates for Seconal (secobarbital)

Risks and Warnings for Seconal (secobarbital)

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  • Seconal (secobarbital) is considered a schedule II medication, which means there is a high chance for physical dependence. This means you need to take higher doses in order for the medicine to work. For some people, this can lead to addiction. You should use Seconal (secobarbital) for as short a time as possible to get rid of your insomnia; otherwise talk to your doctor if you find that it's not helping.

Common concerns from people taking Seconal (secobarbital)

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Pregnancy

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Seconal
DWeigh risks vs. benefits
Alcohol
  • Don't drink alcohol or take narcotics such as pain medicines or benzodiazepines with Seconal (secobarbital) because it can slow your breathing.
Pain
  • If you're having acute or chronic pain, Seconal (secobarbital) can cause you to feel more awake instead of sleepy, or you might not notice changes in your pain until it wears off. If this happens, talk to your doctor about other options to help you sleep.