Phenobarbital (Encyclopedia of Neurological Disorders)
Phenobarbital is a barbiturate, a drug that has sedative and hypnotic effects. The drug is classed as a central nervous system agent and subclassed as an anticonvulsant (antiseizure).
Phenobarbital is used to control the seizures that occur in epilepsy, and can relieve anxiety. For short-term use, phenobarbital can help those with insomnia fall asleep.
Phenobarbital is available in tablet or capsule form, and as a liquid. All three forms are taken orally one to three times each day with or without food. When taken once a day, the drug is typically taken near bedtime.
The dosage is prescribed by a physician. Typically, the total daily dose ranges 3020 mg. For treatment of seizures, the dosage can be 6000 mg daily. The daily dosage for children is typically 3 mg per 2.2 lb (1 kg) of body weight.
Dosages should not be exceeded. It is also important to adhere to the proper timetable for use of the medication. Use of the drug should not be discontinued without consulting a physician.
Phenobarbital is potentially habit forming if taken over an extended period of time. When...
(The entire section is 594 words.)
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Phenobarbital (Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior)
This is the prototypic BARBITURATE central nervous system (CNS) DEPRESSANT. It is prescribed and sold as Luminal and was introduced into clinical medicine in 1912. It was used for a long period as a SEDATIVE-HYPNOTIC drug but has now largely been replaced by the much safer BENZODIAZEPINES.
Phenobarbital's long duration of action makes it useful for treating many forms of general and partial seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. Chronic use can result in TOLERANCE AND PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE, so it is classified as a Schedule III drug in the CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT. Chronic treatment with phenobarbital can increase the activity of certain liver enzymes that metabolize other drugs. Thus a potential side effect is that other drugs (e.g., steroids, oral anticoagulants, digitoxin, beta-blockers, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, and others) are metabolized more quicklynd their
(SEE ALSO: Drug Metabolism; Drug Interactions and Alcohol)
HARVEY, S. C. (1975). Hypnotics and sedatives. In L. S. Goodman & A. Gilman (Eds.), The Pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 5th ed. New York: Macmillan.
SCOTT E. LUKAS