Introduction. Barbiturates are a leading cause of acute poisoning because of their ready availability. Most of the cases are suicidal but some occur through error. Barbiturate Toxicity Treatment & Management. Updated: Jan 14, Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Asim Tarabar, MD more Share; Email; Print. Barbiturates remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality today. The barbiturate most frequently associated with self-poisoning is phenobarbital.


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Intentional overdose is closely related to the epidemiology of depression and the presence of coexisting medical conditions such as anxiety and other mood disorders. barbiturate poisoning


barbiturate poisoning Epidemiology Barbiturate abuse was popular in the 60s and barbiturate poisoning, but strict guidelines and the advent of newer sedative hypnotics, like benzodiazepines, have led to a decrease in barbiturate availability.

Currently, deaths from drug overdose have become the leading cause of death in the United States for individuals under the age of 50 years, with opioid poisonings topping the list.

Sedative-hypnotic agents, as a group, comprise the fifth leading cause of reported fatalities according to the National Poison Data System Database, with pentobarbital being the most barbiturate poisoning barbiturate used. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system which acts to reduce neuronal activity.

In contrast to benzodiazepines, they also act to barbiturate poisoning chloride influx in the absence of GABA which accounts for their ability to depress the central nervous system significantly and contributes to their toxicity.

The toxic dose of barbiturates varies. However, an oral dose of one gram for most barbiturates can cause significant barbiturate poisoning in an adult.

Barbiturate overdose

Fatal cases of ingestion have barbiturate poisoning with doses ranging between 2. Toxicokinetics Barbiturates have various onsets of action, durations, half-lives, and toxic levels, depending on the lipid solubility and rate of metabolic inactivation.

The onset of action for oral administration ranges from 20 to 60 minutes, and intravenous administration can range from almost immediate to 5 minutes. High lipid-solubility in some amobarbital, pentobarbital, and thiopental allow them to barbiturate poisoning well absorbed and rapidly redistributed.

Toxicity, Barbiturate - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf

Most are rapidly metabolized to inactive compounds before they are excreted in the urine. However, phenobarbital is only partially converted barbiturate poisoning can be found unchanged in the urine.


Phenobarbital is a long-acting, polar drug that is slowly absorbed and slowly redistributed, contributing to its longer duration of action. Possible Complications Complications of an overdose include: Coma Head injury and concussion from barbiturate poisoning when intoxicated Miscarriage in pregnant women or damage to the developing baby in the womb Neck and spinal injury and paralysis from falls when intoxicated Pneumonia from depressed gag reflex and aspiration fluid or food down the bronchial tubes into the lungs Severe muscle damage from lying on a hard surface while unconscious, which may lead to permanent kidney injury When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your barbiturate poisoning emergency number, such asif someone has taken barbiturates and seems extremely tired or has breathing problems.

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning.

J Am Med Assoc. The management of patients with acute barbiturate poisoning. This may lead to hypotension and decrease the efficacy of ECTR by reducing cardiac output.


Checking serum barbiturates level e. The use of multiple-dose activated charcoal MDAC at grams taken orally every barbiturate poisoning hours may eliminate elimination of barbiturates. If the patient is drowsy but awake and can swallow and breathe without difficulty, the treatment can be as simple as monitoring the person closely.