Chloral Hydrate – Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions

Last updated: March 28, 2019

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

Sleep disorders affect millions of people in the United States. These disorders can result in low productivity and may impact a person’s well-being. Medication can help you if you suffer a sleep disorder.

Chloral Hydrate is a popular sedative-hypnotic used as a sleeping aid. It can work wonders for you if taken responsibly. There are risks and side effects associated with Chloral Hydrate though. It is important to equip yourself with all the important information about this medication before taking it.

What is Chloral Hydrate?

Chloral Hydrate is short-term medicine for sleep disorders. It is a sedative or hypnotic. The way that it works is it affects certain parts of the brain in order to cause calmness.  It slows down the activity of your central nervous system. This is why it is used to calm patients just before surgery or other medical procedures.

Because of its calming effects, Chloral Hydrate is also used to manage short-term sleeping problems.

Can anyone take Chloral Hydrate?

No, Chloral Hydrate is not ideal for some patients. In some cases, the use of this medication may lead to a more serious health issue. You should not take Chloral Hydrate if you show signs of an allergic reaction to it. Avoid using this medication if you have severe liver disease or if you have severe kidney disease.

Aside from the medical conditions mentioned above, you should also inform your physician if you have:

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  • A history of kidney or liver disease
  • Stomach disorders
  • Stomach ulcers
  • History of drug abuse
  • Heart problems

There are no indications that Chloral Hydrate can cause harm to an unborn child. However, it is still better to inform your attending physician if you are pregnant. You should also inform your doctor if you are planning to get pregnant while using this medication. This will allow your doctor to check for alternatives that are proven safe for pregnant women.

What is the recommended dosage of Chloral Hydrate?

Chloral Hydrate can be used as a sleeping aid. For healthy adults, the recommended dose is 500 mg to 1,000 mg. You should take the medication 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime because that is how long before drowsiness sets in. You should fall asleep within 30 to 60 minutes. For seniors, the starting dose is lower at 250 mg.

If you’re going to use this as a sedative, the recommended dose is 250 mg. The medication is taken 3 times daily. Each dose should be taken after meals and the maximum total dosage should not exceed 2,000 mg per day.

If used as a relaxant prior to s surgery or medical procedure, the recommended dose for adults is 500 mg to 1,000 mg taken at least 30 minutes before the procedure.

What else should I know before taking Chloral Hydrate?

Since this is a drug that can cause dizziness or drowsiness, you should not engage in activities that require mental alertness like driving or operating heavy machinery. Engaging in such activities may cause harm to yourself or others.

This drug should only be used for short periods of time. This is a habit-forming drug and you can develop a dependence on it if taken for a long time. However, you should consult your doctor if you plan on stopping it.

If you have gastrointestinal problems, you may need to look for alternatives for Chloral Hydrate. This drug can worsen esophagitis, gastritis and intestinal ulcers.

This drug is also not recommended for patients who have severe heart diseases. Taking Chloral Hydrate can cause unusual heart rhythms and low blood pressure.

What possible side effects can I encounter with this medication?

Medications often cause side effects. Side effects are unpleasant and unwanted effects caused by a medication. Even if you use a medication exactly that way your doctor prescribed it, you can still encounter side effects. The same is true if you take Chloral Hydrate. Common side effects of Chloral Hydrate include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Aside from the common side effects listed above, Chloral Hydrate can also cause uncommon side effects. You need to call your doctor if you encounter any of the side effects listed below:

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  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Confusion
  • Eye infection
  • Hallucinations
  • Skin Rashes

If you show signs of an allergic reaction to the medication, you need to get emergency medical attention. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Can Chloral Hydrate interact with other drugs?

Yes, Chloral Hydrate can interact with other drugs. You should not take this medicine with other sedating drugs. Consult your physician if you plan on taking Chloral Hydrate with sleeping pills, muscle relaxants or pain relievers. Chloral Hydrate can interact with any of the following:

  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Furosemide
  • Dimenhydrinate
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Barbiturates
  • Warfarin
  • Antidepressants

Chloral Hydrate can work wonders for someone who suffers from sleep disorders. Aside from the information above, it is important to consult your physician before taking this medication. Get all the information you need and do not be afraid to ask questions so you can use Chloral Hydrate to finally get that good night’s rest that you deserve.

Additional References

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

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