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Methohexital (By injection)

Methohexital (meth-oh-HEX-i-tal)

Causes you to fall asleep during a surgery or medical procedure. This medicine is an anesthetic.

Brand Name(s):

Brevital Sodium

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to methohexital, or barbiturates, or if you have porphyria.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicines for seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin®), or blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®). Tell your doctor if you are also using steroid medicine such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, prednisone, or Medrol®. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using products that contain ethyl alcohol or propylene glycol.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, asthma, seizures (epilepsy), high or low blood pressure, or severe anemia.
  • This medicine may make you drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm, leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf).
  • Tremors or seizures.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Confusion, drowsiness, weakness, or muscle twitching.
  • Headache.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Mild skin rash, or itching.
  • Nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, or agitation.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

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