Skip to main content

Sodium oxybate (By mouth)

Sodium Oxybate (SOE-dee-um OX-i-bate)

Treats loss of muscle control (cataplexy) and excessive daytime sleepiness caused by narcolepsy. This medicine is a narcotic sedative that is also called GHB.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to sodium oxybate or if you have succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. Do not use this medicine if you also take another sedative or hypnotic medicine (such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, Ambien®, Phenergan®, Seconal®, Xanax®). Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Take the medicine on an empty stomach or at least 2 hours after you eat. This medicine will make you drowsy very quickly. Take the medicine only at bedtime when you are ready to fall asleep. Stay in bed after you take the first dose.
  • Mix this medicine with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of water before you use it. Measure the medicine with a marked measuring device (plastic syringe) that came with the medicine. Mix both doses of medicine before you go to bed, and store the second dose close to your bed, out of the reach of children.
  • Take the second dose 2-1/2 to 4 hours after you take the first dose. You may need to set an alarm clock to wake you up so you can take the second dose on time.
  • Use the medicine within 24 hours after it has been mixed with water.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss the second dose, skip that dose and do not take any more medicine until the next night. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.
  • Empty any unused medicine down the sink drain after you have finished using a Xyrem® bottle. Use a marker to cross out the label on the bottle. Then, place the empty bottle in the trash.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or if you are using any medicine that makes you sleepy, such as allergy medicine or narcotic pain medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems (such as hypopnea, sleep apnea), heart failure, high blood pressure, or a history of depression or drug abuse.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or less alert. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous for at least 6 hours after you take the second dose of this medicine.
  • Do not use more of this medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to. This can be life-threatening. Symptoms of an overdose include extreme dizziness or weakness, slow heartbeat or breathing, seizures, trouble breathing, and cold, clammy skin. Call your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.
  • This medicine may cause mood changes, changes in weight or appetite, increased tiredness or weakness, or suicidal thoughts. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects.
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

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
  • Confusion, unusual behaviors, thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Extreme dizziness or weakness, slow heartbeat or breathing, seizures, trouble breathing, and cold, clammy skin
  • Feeling depressed or anxious, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Sleepwalking

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

  • Bedwetting
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Nausea, vomiting

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: 4/4/2014

Copyright © 1984- Thomson Micromedex. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M