A List of Barbiturates and How to Spot Them

Barbiturates are a class of drugs that help to promote sleep and reduce symptoms of anxiety. This group of drugs is also considered a central nervous system depressant.  However, the truth is, that many people abuse barbiturates and that can lead to fatal reactions. These drugs are very addictive, so there is a high risk of abusing the drug or even overdosing on them. Learning more about what types of barbiturates are generally prescribed throughout the United States, how people abuse these drugs and what side effects the drugs have can help in the treatment of barbiturate addiction.

What Are the Barbiturates Used For?

There are different reasons for the prescription of barbiturates. Since these are central nervous system depressants, or tranquilizers and sedatives, they are generally prescribed for treating sleep disorders and anxiety disorders. In many instances, benzodiazepines are now being prescribed instead of barbiturates. However, barbiturates are often still prescribed for treating seizure disorders or for use after surgery. This type of drug is very addictive and the risk of overdose is quite high.

The barbiturates suppress the central nervous system, which slows down brain functions. When this happens, other parts of the body are affected as well.  As the dosage of barbiturates is increased, the effects on the user’s bodily functions such as heart rate and breathing can become more significant and potentially more damaging. For this reason, this kind of drug can be extremely dangerous. Anyone who is abusing barbiturates should get addiction treatment immediately before the risk becomes even higher.

How Do People Abuse Barbiturates?

There are many people who abuse barbiturates. Most of these drugs can be taken orally, so abuse is usually through swallowing these drugs. However, some people want to feel the effects of barbiturates quicker, so they break up and inject these drugs into veins in their bodies. When this happens, things begin looking very similar to the abuse of heroin.

A bigger needle is needed to inject barbiturates since the drug is thicker when turned into a liquid. The injection site looks almost like a burn from a cigarette. Most people who start abusing barbiturates started using their own prescription and then became addicted. Some people know someone who gave them the drug and then they developed an addiction.

No matter how someone abuses barbiturates, there are treatment programs available to help them overcome the addiction.

What Side Effects Does Barbiturate Abuse Cause?

There are various side effects that often come from abusing barbiturates. Many of the side effects are the same ones that someone might experience when they abuse alcohol since that is also a type of depressant. Some of the side effects might be impaired judgment or concentration, confusion, and headaches. There are some people who experience loss of inhibition, vision and coordination issues, or impairment of speech. The user might seem incoherent or slow with their speech. Some people who abuse barbiturates experience memory loss. They may also have slow reflexes or even start vomiting. If you are abusing barbiturates, whether you only experience one of these side effects, some or all of them, a treatment program can help you overcome barbiturate abuse.

What Are the Risks of Abusing Barbiturates?

Just as with abusing any type of drug, there are going to be risks. Abusing barbiturates is very dangerous. These drugs slow down body and brain functions which could potentially be fatal. There are many risks associated with abuse of this type of drug and some of them can even be long-term. Many people who are abusing barbiturates experience chronic fatigue and breathing issues. Some experience depression, sleep disorders or sexual issues. Many people who have abused barbiturates have an overdose that proves to be fatal. Even raising the dosage or barbiturates a little bit could lead to an overdose. Before risking your life, turn to a treatment center for help.

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What Are the Groups of Barbiturates?

There are different groups of barbiturates. This is important information to know for anyone, especially if you are concerned that someone might be abusing this type of drug. There are ultra-short-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting barbiturates. The ultra-short barbiturates are generally used with anesthesia and injected through an IV. They start working in around one minute, sometimes less than that. The short-acting and intermediate-acting barbiturates generally start working between 15 and 40 minutes after taking them. The long-acting barbiturates don’t generally start working for about 1 hour, but the effects last for around 12 hours.

What Are the Brand Names of Barbiturates?

There are both brand names and generic names for barbiturates. When being sold in an abusive or recreational manner, sometimes the drugs would be named something else. There are many brand names for this type of drug. The long list of barbiturates in brand name form includes Allonal, Amytal Sodium, Brevital, Butabarb, Butalan, Buticaps, Butisol Sodium, Luminal, Mebaral, Mephyltaletten, Nembutal, Nembutal Sodium, Oramon, Pentothal, Phemiton, Prominal, Sarisol, Seconal, Somnifaine, and Surital.

What Are the Generic Names of Barbiturates?

In addition to the brand names of barbiturates mentioned above, there are also generic names for this type of drug. The long list of barbiturates in generic name form includes Amobarbital Sodium, Aprobarbital, Butabarbital, Mephobarbital (methylphenobarbital), Methohexital, Pentobarbital, Phenobarbital, Primidone, Secobarbital, Thiopental Sodium, and Thiamylal.

What Are the Street Names of Barbiturates?

There are also street names for barbiturates. As mentioned above, when this type of drug is being sold for abuse or recreational use, there are often other names used for them. The Amobarbital is often called blue devils, blue heavens, blue velvet, or downers. The Pentobarbital is often called Mexican yellow, abbots, yellow jackets, or nembies. The Phenobarbital is often called purple hearts and goof balls. The Secobarbital is often called pink ladies, pinks, lilly, F-40s, red devils, red birds, reds, or seggy. There are also some general names for barbiturates being sold on the streets as well. These names include sleepers, phennies, downers, Christmas trees, blockbusters, and barbs.

What Are the Short to Intermediate Acting Barbiturates?

The short to intermediate-acting barbiturates are Amytal (also known as Amobarbital), Alurate (also known as Aprobarbital), Butisol (also known as Butobarbital), Nembutal (also known as Phenobarbital), and Seconal (also known as Secobarbital). Amytal comes in a capsule filled with bluish powder. Alurate comes in tablet form. Butisol comes in a light-blue tablet form. Nembutal often comes in a clear liquid, injectable form. Seconal comes in a capsule with reddish-colored powder.

What Are the Long-Acting Barbiturates?

The long-acting barbiturates are Luminal (also known as Phenobarbital), Mebaral (also known as Mephobarbital), and Prominal (also known as Methylophenobarbital). Luminal often comes as white-round tablets. Mebaral comes in white-round tablets or injectable form. Prominal comes in white-round tablets as well.

What Are the Combination Barbiturates?

There are also combination barbiturates. These are barbiturates combined with a pain reliever such as Acetaminophen. The brand names for these drugs include Anolor 300, Bupap, Capacet, Cephadyn, Dolgic LQ, Esgic, Esgic-Plus, Ezol, Fioricet, Geone, Margesic, Orbivan CF, Phrenilin, Phrenilin Forte and Zebutal. Just as with the other kinds of barbiturates, there are many extreme dangers of taking combination barbiturates as well.

What Are the Signs of Barbiturate Abuse?

If you are abusing barbiturates, you can almost be sure other people are noticing it. Maybe you don’t even realize you have started abusing the drug or you have been making rationalizations for your behaviors. It is essential to know more about the signs of barbiturate abuse whether you are the one abusing the drugs, or you know someone who might be. The most common signs of barbiturate abuse are poor judgment, difficulty concentrating or thinking, slowed talking, shallow and slowed breathing, lethargy, loss of coordination, becoming overly sleepy, slowed response time, difficulty walking straight, stumbling, or even falling into a coma. You can see the signs of barbiturate abuse are quite forward. If you have been abusing this type of drug, know there is a way out. You can overcome the abuse of drugs and live your life to its fullest. All you have to do is to admit to the drug abuse, reach out for help and proceed with a recovery program and recovering lifestyle.

Are There Barbiturate Abuse Treatment Options?

There are many different treatment options for someone who is abusing barbiturates. Accepting the fact that you are abusing and may have an addiction to barbiturates is the first step forward. There are many people who never even take that first step. If you are in need of treatment for barbiturate abuse or you know someone else who is, there are options. There are outpatient and inpatient treatment programs to help you overcome barbiturate abuse.

The first step is to contact addiction recovery professionals who can help you get into the treatment program that will be right for you. When you make the call, you can speak with someone about your abuse of barbiturates. You can talk with them about what types you have been abusing, how long you have been doing so, and how severe the drug abuse is as well. During the conversation, you can ask any questions you might have and get the answers you need. Together, you and the addiction recovery treatment specialist will make a plan to set up treatment with a particular rehab center.

There are many treatment options that might be used when overcoming barbiturate abuse. These might include 12 Step programs, behavioral counseling, adventure therapy, dual-diagnosis treatments, faith-based programs, individual counseling, family counseling, group counseling, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, nature therapy, and more. It can seem overwhelming at first, but just remember you have all the help you need at any given time.

There are many kinds of barbiturates. Anyone who abuses any of these drugs is putting their life at risk. Even a small increase in the dosage of this type of drug could lead to more severe side effects or even a fatal overdose. If you are the one who is abusing barbiturates know there are treatment options. If you suspect someone else is abusing these kinds of drugs, recognize the signs of abuse and how to spot the drugs and try to get them help. There are many people who have lost their lives to a barbiturate addiction. Don’t lose your own life. Get treatment options and help today.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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