WHAT ARE BARBITURATES AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Barbiturates are a class of drugs used to treat seizures (convulsions). They mainly work by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released by nerves to communicate with other nearby nerves. Studies have shown that people with seizures have dysfunctional gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters in the brain. GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, inhibits the activity of nerves that would initiate the seizure. Specifically, barbiturate anticonvulsants enhance the activity of GABA by binding to it and opening the chloride channel in the GABA neurotransmitter. Thus, by opening the chloride channel in the GABA neurotransmitter, benzodiazepines enhance their anticonvulsant activity.
HOW ARE BARBITURATES USED?
Barbiturates are mainly administered orally or intravenously. These are mainly used to treat:
They are also used to initiate:
They may be used for recreational purposes.
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF BARBITURATES?
Some of the common side effects of barbiturates include:
Serious side effects of barbiturates include:
Rare side effects of barbiturates include:
- Liver injury
- Agranulocytosis (an acute condition causing dangerously lowered white blood cell count)
- Erythroderma (an inflammatory skin disease with redness and scaling)
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes)
- Megaloblastic anemia (a condition in which the bone marrow produces unusually large, structurally abnormal, immature red blood cells)
The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.