Navigation Links

Barbiturates are drugs that acts as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and by virtue of this they produce a wide spectrum of effects, from mild sedation to anesthesia. Some also are used as anticonvulsants.

Barbiturates are derivatives of barbituric acid.


Medical uses

Today barbiturates come are mainly used as anticonvulsants and for the induction of anesthesia.

These barbiturates are available in the U.S.:

  • Amobarbital (Sodium Amytal; hypnotic)
  • Aprobarbital (hypnotic)
  • Butabarbital (hypnotic)
  • Butalbital (Fiorinal; sedative)
  • Hexobarbital (Sombulex; hypnotic/anesthetic)
  • Mephobarbital (antianxiety)
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal; hypnotic)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal; hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal; hypnotic)
  • Sodium thiopental
  • Talbutal (Lotusate; hypnotic)
  • Thiobarbital (anesthetic)

Sometimes two or more barbiturates are combined in a single tablet or capsule; perhaps the most well-known of these combinations is Tuinal, which consists of amobarbital and secobarbital in equal proportions.

Barbiturate abuse

Barbiturates were very popular in the first half of the 20th century. In moderate amounts, these drugs produce a state of intoxication that is remarkably similar to alcohol intoxication. Symptoms include slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, and impaired judgment. Depending on the dose, frequency, and duration of use, one can rapidly develop tolerance, physical dependence, and psychological dependence to barbiturates. With the development of tolerance, the margin of safety between the effective dose and the lethal dose becomes very narrow. That is, in order to obtain the same level of intoxication, the tolerant abuser may raise his or her dose to a level that may result in coma or death. Although many individuals have taken barbiturates therapeutically without harm, concern about the addiction potential (withdrawal symptoms can include tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures potentially leading to permanent disability or even death) of barbiturates and the ever-increasing number of fatalities associated with them led to the development of alternative medications, namely benzodiazepines. Today, less than 10 percent of all sedative/hypnotic prescriptions in the United States are for barbiturates.

Other non-therapeutical use

Barbiturates in high doses are used for physician-assisted suicide (PAS), and, in combination with a muscle relaxant, for euthanasia and for capital punishment by lethal injection.



(Date:7/28/2014)... (July 28, 2014) Rice University researchers are using ... varying flexibility that can be used as microscale models ... that "bead-spring" polymers, introduced as theory in the 1950s, ... required and should be of interest to materials scientists ... work led by Rice chemical and biomolecular engineer Sibani ...
(Date:7/28/2014)... A powerful new tool that can help advance ... green and renewable bioenergy, has been developed by ... Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional partnership led ... JBEI researchers have developed an assay that enables ... nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis ...
(Date:7/28/2014)... the body,s natural virus killers to prevent and treat ... the strong inflammatory response these molecules can arouse as ... conducted by scientists at the Weizmann Institute and the ... the activity of these molecules interferons around ... the course of the disease. Their research appeared in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Seeing is bead-lieving 2How sweet it is 2How sweet it is 3Interfering with interferon 2
... As 17 countries and 30 organizations launch the ... environmental groups World Wildlife Fund, The Nature ... businesses, scientists, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the ... reefs. The International Year of the Reef 2008, ...
... scientists had given up the search, researchers have discovered ... the capacity to generate new insulin-producing beta cells. If ... the newfound progenitor cells will represent an obvious target ... researchers report in the Jan. 25 issue of Cell, ...
... York University researchers have identified a weakness in the ... to produce new antibiotics. The researchers found that ... anthracis,s defense against the immune response launched by cells ... NO succumb to the immune system,s attack. Stephen ...
Cached Biology News:Environmental groups call for increased protection of coral reefs 2Elusive pancreatic stem cells found in adult mice 2Team IDs weakness in anthrax bacteria 2
Other biology definitionOther Tags