This medication is used for a short time (no more than 2 weeks) to treat sleeping problems (insomnia). Chloral hydrate may also be used to calm you just before surgery or other procedures. It belongs to a class of drugs known as sedative/hypnotics. It works by affecting certain parts of the brain to cause calmness and sleep.
How To Use
Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water or other liquid (8 ounces or 240 milliliters), with or without food, usually 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime or as directed by your doctor. Take this medication by mouth usually 30 minutes before your surgery/procedure. Follow your doctor's directions for how much liquid or food you can have before your procedure.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Mix your dose with a full glass of water or other liquid (such as fruit juice, ginger ale) before taking it.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.
If you are taking this medication for sleep, take it only when you need help falling asleep. Taking it regularly will make the drug work less well over time. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as sweating, trembling, anxiety, confusion, seizures, and hallucinations) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. Withdrawal from chloral hydrate can be severe (rarely fatal). To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.