"Sleep disorder drugs (hypnotic and sedative drugs) overview
Insomnia, a disorder in which there is difficulty sleeping, occurs occasionally in most people but usually lasts only a few days. The body then "corrects" itself "...
- Clinician Information:
Nembutal Patient Information Including Side Effects
Brand Names: Nembutal Sodium
Generic Name: pentobarbital (Pronunciation: PEN toe BAR bi tal)
- What is pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- What are the possible side effects of pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- What is the most important information I should know about pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- How should I take pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- What happens if I miss a dose (Nembutal)?
- What happens if I overdose (Nembutal)?
- What should I avoid while taking pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- What other drugs will affect pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
- Where can I get more information?
What is pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
Pentobarbital is in a group of drugs called barbiturates (bar-BIT-chur-ates). Pentobarbital slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.
Pentobarbital is used short-term to treat insomnia. Pentobarbital is also used as an emergency treatment for seizures, and to cause you to fall asleep for surgery.
Pentobarbital may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- confusion, hallucinations;
- weak or shallow breathing;
- slow heart rate, weak pulse; or
- feeling like you might pass out.
Less serious side effects may include:
- problems with memory or concentration;
- excitement, irritability, or aggression (especially in children or older adults);
- loss of balance or coordination;
- nausea, vomiting, constipation;
- headache; or
- "hangover" effect (drowsiness the day after a dose).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the Nembutal (pentobarbital) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
What is the most important information I should know about pentobarbital (Nembutal)?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to pentobarbital, or if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
Before using pentobarbital, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, chronic pain, severe or uncontrolled asthma or COPD, a history of mental illness or suicide attempt, or a history of addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Pentobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Pentobarbital should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
Pentobarbital can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can also add to sleepiness caused by pentobarbital.
Pentobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while using pentobarbital.
Additional Nembutal Information
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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