Pentobarbital is in a class of drugs called barbiturates. Pentobarbital slows down activity in the brain and nervous system and is FDA approved to treat short-term insomnia. It is also used to treat seizures and to induce preoperative sleep/sedation. Pentobarbital has also been used in physician-assisted suicides.
Pentobarbital should be taken exactly as prescribed by your physician and should be used only by the person who it was prescribed for. Do not take this medication if you are allergic to pentobarbital, if you have porphyria (a rare disorder in which heme, an important part of hemoglobin, is not made properly), or if you have a severe respiratory disease such as severe asthma. Before taking pentobarbital it is important to inform your doctor of your complete medical history, especially if you have ever had a drug or alcohol addiction as this medication can be habit forming; liver or kidney disease; or a history of mental illness. Do not take pentobarbital if you are pregnant. The medication can harm an unborn baby. If you are breastfeeding, consult with your doctor before taking the medication. Pentobarbital has been known to pass through breast milk and can affect a nursing child. Pentobarbital may not be suitable for children or adults over 60 years of age because it may cause excitement, aggression, depression, or confusion.
There are varying side effects associated with taking pentobarbital. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects: weak or shallow breathing; confusion or hallucinations; slow heart rate or weak pulse; fever or sore throat; or feeling like you may pass out. Similarly, seek emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction. These signs include: swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; hives; or difficulty breathing. Less severe side effects may include loss of balance, headache, nausea or vomiting, and loss of coordination. You may experience other symptoms not listed. Consult with your doctor about any additional side effects and/or concerns.
Pentobarbital may reduce the effectiveness of other medications so let your doctor know what other medications you are prescribed and/or take on a regular basis. While taking pentobarbital use caution when driving or operating machinery since the medication will cause drowsiness. Avoid alcohol or other medications that may cause drowsiness without approval from your physician. Remember to keep this, and all other drugs, out of reach from children.
For more information on pentobarbital, contact your physician or pharmacist.