Phenobarbitone or Phenobarbital


The drug is used to manage seizures, epilepsy (fits), anxiety, and symptoms of drug withdrawal. It is also used as a sedative and hypnotic.

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

Drug class: Sedative-hypnotics; barbiturate; anticonvulsant

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Route of administration: Oral, intravenous, intramuscular

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Long-acting barbiturate that works by enhancing 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, lack of coordination, disorientation, lightheadedness, depression, vision changes, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, rash/itching, breathing problem, excitement, low blood pressure. 


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

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

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), hypersensitivity,

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 elderly and young.

This medication may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.

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

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