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Related to Seconal: Seconal sodium


trademark for preparations of secobarbital sodium, a sedative and hypnotic.


(see-koe-bar-bi-tal) ,


(trade name),


(trade name)


Therapeutic: sedative hypnotics
Pharmacologic: barbiturates
Pregnancy Category: D


Short-term treatment of insomnia.Adjunctive agent for anesthesia.


Produces CNS depression through GABA-like effects.

Therapeutic effects

Induction of sleep, sedation, or anesthesia.


Absorption: Well absorbed following oral administration.
Distribution: Widely distributed; highest concentration in brain and liver. Crosses the placenta; small amounts enter breast milk.
Metabolism and Excretion: Metabolized by the liver.
Protein Binding: 55%.
Half-life: 30 hr.

Time/action profile (hypnotic effect)

PO10–15 min2–4 hr6–8 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity; Pre-existing CNS depression; Uncontrolled severe pain; Porphyria; Obstetric / Lactation: Pregnancy or lactation.
Use Cautiously in: Hepatic or renal impairment; Geriatric: Appears on Beers list. At ↑ risk for side effects (dose ↓ recommended); Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Prolonged use (may lead to physical & psychological dependence).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • abnormal thinking
  • behavior changes
  • delirium
  • excess sedation (most frequent)
  • excitation
  • hallucinations
  • mental depression (most frequent)
  • vertigo (most frequent)
  • sleep disorders
  • sleep driving


  • respiratory depression


  • nausea
  • vomiting


  • photosensitivity
  • rashs
  • urticaria


  • arthralgia
  • myalgia


  • neuralgia


  • physical dependence
  • psychological dependence


Drug-Drug interaction

Additive CNS depression with alcohol, antihistamines, antidepressants, opioid analgesics, and other sedative/hypnotics.Valproates may ↓ metabolism and ↑ CNS depression.↑ metabolism and ↓ effects of hormonal contraceptives, chloramphenicol, cyclosporine, corticosteroids, dacarbazine, levothyroxine, and quinidine.St. John's wort may ↓ levels and effect.Concomitant use of kava, valerian,, chamomile, or hops can ↑ CNS depression.


Oral (Adults) Preoperative sedation—200–300 mg 1–2 hr before surgery; bedtime hypnotic—100 mg.
Oral (Children) Preoperative sedation—2–6 mg/kg (not to exceed 100 mg).


Capsules: 100 mg

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess sleep patterns prior to and periodically during therapy. Hypnotic doses of secobarbital suppress REM sleep. Patient may experience an increase in dreaming upon discontinuation of medication.
  • Prolonged therapy may lead to psychological or physical dependence.
  • Assess postoperative patients for pain. Secobarbital may increase responsiveness to painful stimuli.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for injury (Side Effects)
Deficient knowledge, related to medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Supervise ambulation and transfer of patients following administration. Remove cigarettes. Side rails should be raised and call bell within reach at all times.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Discuss the importance of preparing environment for sleep (dark room, quiet, avoidance of nicotine and caffeine).
  • May cause daytime drowsiness. Caution patient to avoid driving and other activities requiring alertness for at least 24 hr after administration and until response to medication is known.
  • Caution patient to avoid taking alcohol or other CNS depressants concurrently with this medication.
  • Advise female patients to use a nonhormonal method of contraception during therapy and until next menstrual period. Instruct patient to contact health care professional immediately if pregnancy is planned or suspected, or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Improvement in sleep pattern without excessive daytime sedation. Therapy is usually limited to a 2-wk period.
  • Sedation.


(sĕk′ə-nôl′, -năl′, -nəl)
A trademark for the drug secobarbital.


a trademark for a sedative-hypnotic (secobarbital sodium).
References in periodicals archive ?
On her last visit to him, he prescribed Seconal tablets and gave her a prescription for 60 of them, which was unusual in quantity especially since he saw her frequently.
Lethal medication: 25 patients, or 68 percent, used pentobarbital, and 12 patients (32 percent) used secobarbital, or Seconal.
Paul, who has ventured to New York City that same night to attempt a rendezvous with a particularly stunning classmate, Libbets Casey, is so nervous at the prospect of spending time at her family's fashionable upper-east-side home that when he arrives he encourages both of them (along with a friend who accompanies him) to ingest a combination of beer, pot, and Seconal from the Casey medicine cabinet.
Examples of barbiturates are: Amytal, Florinal, Nembutal, Tuinal, Seconal, and Phenobarbital.
She calls to him on his way out that they will be needing more Seconal, though it isn't he who takes it, ever.
The boy had apparently eaten some poisonous berries, but the post mortem revealed traces of the drug seconal in the boy's stomach.
In private contract research with universities and chemical companies, other agents were also used, including morphine, Demerol, Seconal, mescaline, atrophine, and psilocybin.
The inquest heard Dr Iqbal first prescribed the barbiturate Seconal for the princess in July 1999 after another patient told him she needed the drugs.
For the last ten years of his life he took Oreton-M, a synthetic testosterone that stimulates the development of male sexual characteristics, in combination with Serpasil, Doriden, Ritalin, Eucanel, Seconal and massive doses of vitamin A and B.
Snyder gave the president a grain and a half of Seconal.
In one case, 71-year-old Elaine McIlroy helped her 75-year-old husband, Richard, commit suicide by giving him chocolate ice cream over which she had sprinkled the contents of Seconal tablets he had hoarded.