Sodium oxybate (By mouth)

Introduction

Sodium Oxybate (SOE-dee-um OX-i-bate)

Treats loss of muscle control (cataplexy) and excessive daytime sleepiness that is caused by a sleep disorder (narcolepsy). This medicine is a narcotic sedative that is also called GHB.

Brand Name(s)

Xyrem

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 sodium oxybate, or if you are also using another sedative or hypnotic medicine (such as Ambien®, Phenergan®, Seconal®, or Xanax®), or if you have a rare metabolism disorder called succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • 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.
  • Use of this medicine is strictly controlled. It is against the law for you to give this medicine to anyone else. You must read, sign, and send in paperwork to have the medicine shipped to you from a central pharmacy.
  • Take the medicine on an empty stomach or at least 2 hours after eating. This medicine will make you drowsy very quickly. It is best to take the medicine only at bedtime or when you are ready to fall asleep.
  • Mix this medicine with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of water before using. Measure the medicine with a marked measuring device (plastic syringe) that came with the medicine. Mix both doses of medicine before you go to bed, and store the second dose close to your bed, out of the reach of children.
  • Take the second dose 2-1/2 to 4 hours after you take the first dose. You may need to set an alarm clock to wake you up so you can take the second dose on time.
  • After the medicine has been mixed with water, use it within 24 hours.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss the second dose, skip that dose and do not take any more medicine until the next night. 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. Do not freeze.
  • Do not throw any unused medicine in the trash. Flush it down the toilet or take it to a community take-back program when available. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • 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 modafinil (Provigil®), protriptyline (Vivactil®), or zolpidem (Ambien®).
  • 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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have breathing problems (such as hypopnea or sleep apnea), kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, or a history of depression or drug abuse.
  • Taking too much of this medicine can cause death. Symptoms of an overdose (too much medicine) include extreme tiredness, unconsciousness, shortness of breath, unsteadiness, and seizures. Call your doctor and get emergency help right away if you feel you have taken too much medicine.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than you are normally. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert for at least 6 hours after taking this medicine.
  • Other people living in your house should monitor you for the possibility of urinary or fecal incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control), or sleepwalking. Tell your doctor if these symptoms occur.
  • 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.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

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
  • Headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
  • Seizures or muscle weakness.
  • Severe confusion or unusual behaviors, or thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sleepwalking.

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

  • Ear pain or ear discomfort.
  • Inability to control urine or bowel movement.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.

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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