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Treating insomnia, headache and seizures with Barbiturates

Barbiturates are basically CNS depressants. They decrease the actions of nerves leading to muscle relaxation. They can also affect heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. All Barbiturates influence GABA a chemical that the nerves use to communicate with each other.

Barbiturates are available in the following forms of dosages

  • Capsule
  • Suspension
  • Solution
  • Tablet
  • Elixir
  • Suppository

Medical uses- Barbiturates

Barbiturates are drugs used to treat seizures, insomnia and headaches. Some of the Barbiturates available in the United States are

  • secobarbital
  • butabarbital
  • amobarbital
  • Phenobarbital
  • belladonna
  • butalbital
  • aspirin/cafffiene

Before using Barbiturates discuss with your doctor if you had any allergic reaction to similar medicine or medicines that belong to this class.  Also inform your doctor in case of any other type of allergies you have like to food dyes, animals or preservatives.

Common side effects- Barbiturates

  • sedation
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • light-headedness
  • abdominal pain

Barbiturates can reduce your heart beat, slow breathing and can be habit forming too.

Drug Interactions- Barbiturates

Barbiturates must be used with extra caution while using it with some other drugs as it elevates the breakdown of these drugs resulting in decreased effectiveness. Some of the drugs that can interact with Barbiturates are

  • lurasidone
  • atazanavir
  • ranolazine
  • ritonavir
  • voriconazole
  • telaprevir
  • boceprevir

Using Barbiturates with some other CNS depressant drugs needs extra caution as using the combination of these drugs can result in lethargy, sedation and in severe cases coma and even death. examples are

  • alprazolam (Xanax),
  • zaleplon (Sonata).
  • diazepam (Valium),
  • zolpidem (Ambien),
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)

Are Barbiturates safe for use during pregnancy?

FDA has categorized amobarbital, secobarbital, Phenobarbital, pentobarbital in D category, which means Barbiturates are not safe for use during pregnancy. Since there is no evidence that supports the use of Barbiturates during pregnancy, it should be avoided in pregnant women. Using Barbiturates regularly during your pregnancy can lead to bleeding problems in unborn baby. It can also lead to withdrawal effects in baby post birth.

Using Barbiturates for anaesthesia during delivery and labour can prolong labour and also delay delivery and it reduces the force as well the frequency of uterus contractions.

Are Barbiturates safe for use during breastfeeding?

It is still not known whether Barbiturates secrete in breast milk, therefore Barbiturates should not be used in nursing mothers to ensure infant’s safety.

Important information

Barbiturates are sometimes used prior surgery to relieve tension and anxiety. Some Barbiturates are helpful as anticonvulsants to manage seizures in some disorders like epilepsy or other disorders. Barbiturates are used to treat sleeping problems (insomnia), but if you use Barbiturates regularly to treat insomnia, they are not effective for more than 2 weeks. Barbiturates are also used to relieve restlessness or nervousness during daytime. Barbiturates become habit forming when used in excess amounts.

Barbiturates are basically not recommended for use in managing tension or anxiety caused due to stress of everyday life.

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