Common brand names: Several generics available.
Description: Chloral hydrate is a popular liquid sedative-hypnotic drug that induces sleep or sleepiness.
Dental uses: Chloral hydrate is used predominantly by pediatric dentists to calm uncooperative children. It has an unpleasant taste so it is typically mixed with Kool-Aid® or other fruit drinks before administering it to a child.
Dosages for dental purposes: The dose of chloral hydrate is based on the child’s body weight and is usually in the range of 40 milligrams per kilogram of weight to 50 milligrams per kilogram of weight (one kilogram equals 2.2 pounds). The absolute maximum dose is 1000 mg.
Concerns and possible side effects: Chloral hydrate should not be administered at home. It should only be administered in the office by practitioners (typically pediatric dentists, dental anesthesiologists and oral surgeons) who have expertise on the dosing of chloral hydrate and who have advanced training in deep-sedation techniques in children. Children receiving chloral-hydrate sedation should be appropriately monitored. While chloral hydrate is generally considered a safe drug, overdoses of chloral hydrate have resulted in several deaths. Chloral hydrate often can cause nausea and vomiting. Your dental practitioner may decide also to administer hydroxyzine (Atarax or Vistaril), an anti-emetic, to reduce this side effect. Following the dental procedure, many children will remain drowsy, uncoordinated and possibly confused for the remainder of the day. Therefore, children should be well supervised and refrain from outdoor activities.