Barbiturates are a group of drugs that are sometimes used to treat people who have seizures and some other health problems. Barbiturates are not prescribed often.
Some examples of barbiturates are Fiorinal and Phenobarbital.
Like sleeping pills, barbiturates are “downers”. They work by making your brain and nervous system less active. This makes the person feel calm.
Yes. People who use barbiturates often need to take more to get the same effects (tolerance). If stopped suddenly, users who are dependent on barbiturates can have problems sleeping, feel restless, or be irritable. The effects of suddenly stopping barbituates may need to be treated in hospital.
Barbiturates can affect memory and judgment. They can also make people feel depressed, angry, very tired, and cause mood swings.
Because they're stronger than most sleeping pills, barbiturates are more dangerous when misused. People can develop tolerance to barbiturates so they start using more and more.
Mixing two types of any drug is never a good idea. It's very dangerous to take them with alcohol or heroin. Alcohol, heroin, and barbiturates all make the brain and nervous system less active. Your nervous system controls things like breathing, so if you combine drugs, you are more likely to stop breathing and die.
Using them regularly and for a long time can cause liver damage, muscle weakness and bone pain.
Current as of: August 20, 2019
Author: Poison & Drug Information Service, Alberta Health Services
This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, or treatment. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider. This information may be printed and distributed without permission for non-profit, education purposes. The content on this page may not be changed without consent of the author. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.