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Butabarbital

Uses

The medication is prescribed to treat insomnia (sleeplessness). It is also used to sedate patients and alleviate anxiety prior to surgery.

IUPAC name: 5-butan-2-yl-5-ethyl-1,3-diazinane-2,4,6-trione

Drug class: Sedative-hypnotics; barbiturate

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Route of administration: Oral

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Short-acting barbiturate (6-8hours) that works by activating GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) that calms the brain and relieves anxiety, and it helps you fall asleep. 

Side effects

It may cause dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, depression, hallucination, restlessness, nervousness, fainting, slow heart rate, nausea, vomiting, rash/itching, swelling of face, throat, lips, hands, feet, legs and breathing problems.

Precautions

Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

If you are allergic to barbiturates (such as pentobarbital, phenobarbital, amobarbital), or if you have other allergies,

If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),

When you have a history of liver disease, kidney disease, breathing problems (such as obstructive sleep apnea, COPD-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), mental disorders, porphyria (type of blood disorder), seizures, depression,

If you have undergone any type of surgery,

Limit your alcohol usage since it increases your chances of developing blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness. It may also cause a loss of alertness.

This drug’s side effects may be more severe among the older adults (above 60).

Use of this medication should be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

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