Butabarbital (By mouth)

Introduction

Butabarbital (bue-ta-BAR-bi-tal)

Treats insomnia (difficulty falling asleep). Also used to make you feel sleepy before surgery or a procedure. This medicine is a barbiturate.

Brand Name(s)

Butisol Sodium

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to butabarbital or to other barbiturates. You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant, or if you have porphyria.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • This medicine is not for long-term use.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
  • If you are taking this medicine for insomnia, it is best to take it at bedtime or when you are having trouble falling asleep.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicine to treat infection (such as griseofulvin, doxycycline, Gris-Peg®, Vibramycin®, or Vibra-Tabs®), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, prednisone, or Medrol®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), or medicine to treat seizures (such as phenytoin, sodium valproate, valproic acid, Dilantin®, or Depakene®). Tell your doctor if you are also using a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®), or hormone medicines (such as estradiol, estrone, or progesterone).
  • Birth control pills may not work as well while using this medicine. To keep from getting pregnant, use an additional form of birth control with your pills.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or severe pain in any part of your body. Also tell your doctor if you have severe depression, a history of drug addiction, or have ever had thoughts of suicide.
  • Some brands of butabarbital contain a yellow dye called tartrazine. Tartrazine may cause severe allergic reactions. Tell your doctor if you have any allergies.
  • This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have itching, hives, trouble breathing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth when you take this medicine.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert. This medicine may also cause sleep-related behaviors such as sleep-driving, making phone calls, or preparing and eating food while asleep or not fully awake. If these reactions occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Do not use this medicine to treat insomnia and other sleeping problems without checking with your doctor first. If you still have trouble sleeping after 7 to 10 days of using this medicine, check with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Abnormal behavior or problems with speech.
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash.
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
  • Severe confusion, drowsiness, or muscle weakness.
  • Shortness of breath or bluish-colored skin.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Confusion, nervousness, trouble sleeping, or unusual dreams.
  • Fever or headache.
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not really there).
  • Mild nausea or constipation.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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