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Healthnotes Index:

Phenobarbital

Pronounced

"fee-no-BARB-ih-tall"

Common brand names:

Barbilixir Special

Uses

This medication is used alone or with other medications to control seizures. Controlling and reducing seizures lets you do more of your normal daily activities, reduces your risk of harm when you lose consciousness, and lessens your risk for a possibly life-threatening condition of frequent, repeated seizures. Phenobarbital belongs to a class of drugs known as barbiturate anticonvulsants/hypnotics. It works by controlling the abnormal electrical activity in the brain that occurs during a seizure. This medication is also used for a short time (usually no more than 2 weeks) to help calm you or help you sleep during periods of anxiety. It works by affecting certain parts of the brain to cause calming.

How to Use This Medication

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily at bedtime for seizure control, or as directed by your doctor. Take with food or milk if stomach upset occurs. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device/cup. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

Dosage is based on your medical condition, phenobarbital blood levels, and response to treatment. The dosage in children may also be based on weight.

Your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose to prevent side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed.

It may take several weeks to reach the best dose for you and completely control your seizures. This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take it at the same time(s) each day.

Do not stop taking this medication (and other anticonvulsant medications) without consulting your doctor. Your seizures may worsen or cause a very severe seizure that is difficult to treat (status epilepticus) when this drug is suddenly stopped.

This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, hallucinations, twitching, trouble sleeping) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. Withdrawal from phenobarbital can be severe and include seizures and (rarely) death. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.

When this medication is used for a long time for anxiety or to help you sleep, it may not work as well. Phenobarbital should only be used for a short time for anxiety or sleep. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Tell your doctor if your anxiety or seizure control worsens (such as the number of seizures increases).

Copyright © 2014 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com

RxAnswers™ is a copyrighted combined product from Aisle7 and First DataBank, Inc.

Drug information is selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First DataBank, Inc. This is a summary and does not contain all possible information about this product. For complete information about this product or your specific health needs, ask your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you have any questions about this product or your medical condition. This information is not intended as individual medical advice and does not substitute for the knowledge and judgment of your healthcare professional. This information does not contain any assurances that this product is safe, effective or appropriate for you.

This information is intended only for residents of the United States. Products sold under the same brand names in other countries may contain different ingredients.

Learn more about First DataBank

There are some limitations on the information provided in “Nutrient Interactions.” Do NOT rely solely on the information in this article. Please read the disclaimer.

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Aisle7 and/or its suppliers make no warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of this content herein or that of any organization referred or linked to within this content and will not be liable for any damages arising out of your access to or use of any information found herein or that of any organization referred to within this content.

Information expires June 2015.


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