Thiopental injection

What is thiopental injection?

THIOPENTAL (Pentothal®) helps to produce relaxation, deep sleep or loss of consciousness before and during surgery. It does not relieve pain. Thiopental may be supplemented by other medicines to produce the type of anesthesia (loss of sensation) required. Thiopental is used to control seizures in status epilepticus (a series of seizures without regaining consciousness). Generic thiopental injections are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive thiopental?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Addison's disease

  • a history of seizures or convulsions

  • an alcohol or drug abuse problem

  • anemia, or low blood iron

  • asthma or other breathing difficulties, such as sleep apnea; lung disease

  • attempted suicide

  • heart or blood vessel disease

  • high or low blood pressure

  • liver or kidney disease

  • low blood pressure

  • mental depression or other mental health issues; thoughts of suicide

  • neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or myasthenia gravis

  • porphyria

  • thyroid problems

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to thiopental, other barbiturates, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Thiopental is for injection into a vein. It is given by a trained health-care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with thiopental?

  • alcohol

  • herbal products, including St. John's wort

  • insulin

  • magnesium sulfate

  • medicines for anxiety and sleeping problems, such as diazepam or temazepam

  • medicines for depression

  • medicines for colds, breathing difficulties, or weight loss

  • medicines for high blood pressure

  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances

  • medicines for pain

  • probenecid

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking thiopental?

The effects of thiopental generally wear off in a few hours. However, thiopental can affect your ability to drive or do anything that needs mental alertness. Do not attempt to drive yourself home if you have received thiopental for minor outpatient surgery. You may feel dizzy and lightheaded. To reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit up or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can make you more drowsy or dizzy, avoid alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours after you receive thiopental.

What side effects may I notice from receiving thiopental?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • back, leg, or stomach pain

  • coughing or hiccups

  • difficulty breathing, wheezing

  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • fever

  • irregular heartbeats (palpitations)

  • muscle twitching

  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

  • pain or swelling at the injection site

  • seizures (convulsions)

  • skin rash, itching (hives)

  • swelling of the face, lips or eyelids

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • anxiety, confusion, hallucinations

  • drowsiness

  • headache

  • nausea, vomiting

  • shivering or trembling

Where can I keep my medicine?

This does not apply.


Thiopental rectal solution

What is thiopental rectal solution?

THIOPENTAL (Pentothal®) helps to produce relaxation, deep sleep or loss of consciousness before and during surgery. It does not relieve pain. Thiopental may be supplemented by other medicines to produce the type of anesthesia (loss of sensation) required. Generic thiopental rectal solution can be made by a pharmacist.

What should my health care professional know before I receive thiopental?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Addison's disease

  • a history of seizures or convulsions

  • an alcohol or drug abuse problem

  • anemia, or low blood iron

  • asthma or other breathing difficulties, such as sleep apnea; lung disease

  • attempted suicide

  • bowel or stomach disease; rectal bleeding

  • bowel cancer

  • heart or blood vessel disease

  • high or low blood pressure

  • liver or kidney disease

  • low blood pressure

  • mental depression or other mental health issues; thoughts of suicide

  • neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or myasthenia gravis

  • porphyria

  • thyroid problems

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to thiopental, other barbiturates, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Thiopental is introduced into the rectum (back passage) with a special applicator. It is administered by a trained health-care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with thiopental?

  • alcohol

  • herbal products, including St. John's wort

  • insulin

  • magnesium sulfate

  • medicines for anxiety and sleeping problems, such as diazepam or temazepam

  • medicines for depression

  • medicines for colds, breathing difficulties, or weight loss

  • medicines for high blood pressure

  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances

  • medicines for pain

  • probenecid

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking thiopental?

The effects of thiopental generally wear off in a few hours. However, thiopental can affect your ability to drive or do anything that needs mental alertness. Do not attempt to drive yourself home if you have received thiopental for minor outpatient surgery. You may feel dizzy and lightheaded. To reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit up or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can make you more drowsy or dizzy, avoid alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours after you receive thiopental.

What side effects may I notice from receiving thiopental?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • back, leg, or stomach pain

  • coughing or hiccups

  • difficulty breathing, wheezing

  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • fever

  • irregular heartbeats (palpitations)

  • muscle twitching

  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

  • pain or swelling at the injection site

  • seizures (convulsions)

  • skin rash, itching (hives)

  • swelling of the face, lips or eyelids

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • anxiety, confusion, hallucinations

  • diarrhea

  • drowsiness

  • headache

  • nausea, vomiting

  • rectal irritation or bleeding, or cramps

  • shivering or trembling

Where can I keep my medicine?

This does not apply.