Chloral Hydrate is a sedative used primarily to treat insomnia. Patients who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep often are prescribed drugs like Chloral Hydrate or a similar substance to induce sleep when it otherwise would be difficult or impossible. Other uses may include the treatment of anxiety, to induce sleep before surgery or, in some cases, to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Chloral Hydrate is meant for short term use and can have both fast-acting and long-lasting sedative effects.
What Should I Know?
Drugs containing Chloral Hydrate should only be used for short periods of time from 2 to 7 days. The drug is habit forming and should never be taken in amounts exceeding doctor recommended dosages. Certain people should not take Chloral Hydrate including patients with kidney or liver disease, heart or stomach problems, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or asthma. It is also harmful to women who are pregnant or breast feeding. It is also important to know and disclose to your doctor any other medications you are taking especially if you are on any type of “blood thinner” like warfarin (Coumadin). Antihistamines, furosemide (Lasix), medications for depression or seizures, sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and even vitamins can cause dangerous complications and should be disclosed to your doctor or pharmacist so they can alter dosage or recommend you discontinue use of Chloral Hydrate.
Potential Side Effects
Like any prescription drug there are some serious risks that need to be considered before you and your doctor decide whether or not to use Chloral Hydrate. As mentioned above, there are certain conditions and drugs that can preclude a person from taking Chloral Hydrate. Assuming you do not fit any of the aforementioned descriptions, and decide to take Chloral Hydrate, you may experience the following symptoms:
• upset stomach
If you experience any of the following side effects, emergency medical treatment may be necessary:
• skin rash
• difficulty breathing
• slow heartbeat
• extreme tiredness
If you take a medication containing Chloral Hydrate and experience any of these symptoms consult your doctor immediately.
There are a number of people who have trouble sleeping due to temporary insomnia. Many of us also experience anxiety or need to relax before major surgery. For some time now, doctors have prescribed medications with varying brand names containing the active ingredient Chloral Hydrate. The compound has been around since the late 1800’s and has been used effectively since that time. Its potential habit forming qualities make it a potentially dangerous ingredient and precautions should always be taken to follow closely the doctor’s prescription. If you are taking a medication that contains Chloral Hydrate, be aware of the potential side effects and make sure you disclose all of your previous medical conditions along with all the medications you are currently taking to avoid potentially dangerous reactions to the drug. Consider your options carefully and be aware of the presence of Chloral Hydrate in any sedative drug you may be taking.