What Is Paraldehyde?

What Is Paraldehyde?

Paraldehyde, which is used under the brand name Paral, is a Schedule IV depressant that is most commonly used in treating delirium associated with alcohol withdrawal as well as being used in treating convulsions associated with seizures. Paraldehyde is most commonly either administered through IV or orally.

It is not given as an injection due to tissue damage which can be quite painful for the patient. Paraldehyde is also sometimes given to children to treat status epilepticus, as it has been shown to be more successful than diazepam or benzodiazepines for epilepsy in children. The effect that Paraldehyde gives which urges some individuals to use it recreationally and thus become addicted to it, involves hypnotic and paraldehyde effects.


When used as a hypnotic or sedative for alcoholics looking to relive their withdrawal symptoms, paraldehyde helps to induce sleep and keep their body from convulsing incessantly during the withdrawal stage. When taken orally, paraldehyde is mixed with milk or fruit juice and stirred with a metal spoon due to its hot burning taste that may upset the stomach and cause nausea or vomiting.

Paraldehyde Abuse Side Effects

Paraldehyde use includes a variety of adverse side effects as a result of taking the medication, aside from the sedative, hypnotic and relaxing effects that recreational users desire in the drug use.

Additional side effects include coughing when it is injected, skin rash and itching, redness, swelling or pain at the site of injection (another reason it is not typically injected), and yellowing eyes or skin.

The most prominent side effect of paraldehyde when taken orally is having a strong, unpleasant odor to their breath which goes away quickly after they quit using the drug.

It is also possible to overdose on paraldehyde, these symptoms can include:

  • Cloudy Urine
  • Confusion
  • Decreased Urination
  • Increased Breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Lowing of The Heart Rate
  • shortness of Breath or Shallow Breathing
  • Severe Abdominal Cramping

The individual can also experience muscle weakness that is often so severe they cannot even stand on their own or hold their head up.

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