The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.
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Generic drug name: phenobarbital (fee noe BAR bi tal)
Brand name(s): LUMINAL, SOLFOTON
GENERIC: available FAMILIES: Drugs for Epilepsy, Barbiturates
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Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]
A number of reports suggest an association between the use of phenobarbital by women with epilepsy and malformations in their infants, including spina bifida and heart defects. Taking more than one drug for epilepsy increases the risk. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.
Phenobarbital is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, you should not take this drug while nursing.
Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]
If you are currently taking zolpidem and develop complex sleep behaviors, discontinue the drug immediately and seek medical help.
Otherwise, if you have been taking zolpidem for awhile, do not stop taking this drug suddenly because it may cause drug-induced dependence. Instead, work with your doctor to create a schedule to stop it gradually to avoid withdrawal reactions (including stomach cramps, vomiting, nervousness and panic attacks).
Facts About This Drug [top]
Phenobarbital is of limited benefit to older adults because it is addictive and has potentially serious adverse effects. You should not be taking it to promote sleep, relieve nervousness or anxiety, lower blood pressure, or reduce pain. Like other barbiturates, it is commonly misused as a painkiller, despite the fact that it can actually increase your sensation of, and reaction to, pain. You should only be taking phenobarbital to control convulsions (seizures). For this purpose, you can take...
Phenobarbital is of limited benefit to older adults because it is addictive and has potentially serious adverse effects. You should not be taking it to promote sleep, relieve nervousness or anxiety, lower blood pressure, or reduce pain. Like other barbiturates, it is commonly misused as a painkiller, despite the fact that it can actually increase your sensation of, and reaction to, pain. You should only be taking phenobarbital to control convulsions (seizures). For this purpose, you can take it at doses well below those that cause you to go to sleep.
If your kidney or liver function is impaired, you need to take less than the usual adult dose of phenobarbital. Phenobarbital causes liver cancer in mice and rats.
Before You Use This Drug [top]
Do not use if you have or have had:
Tell your doctor if you have or have had:
Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.
When You Use This Drug [top]
How to Use This Drug [top]
Interactions with Other Drugs [top]
The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:
AGENERASE, alcohol, amprenavir, chlorpromazine, COUMADIN, CRYSTODIGIN, cyclosporine, DECADRON, delavirdine, DEPAKENE/DEPAKOTE, dexamethasone, digitoxin, divalproex/valproic acid, doxycycline, DURAQUIN, ELIXOPHYLLIN, FLAGYL, FORTOVASE, GABITRIL, HEXADROL, INVIRASE, LOPRESSOR, methoxyflurane, metoprolol, metronidazole, nelfinavir, NEORAL, NORVIR, oral contraceptives, oxcarbazepine, PENTHRANE, QUINAGLUTE DURA-TABS, QUINIDEX, quinidine, RESCRIPTOR, ritonavir, SANDIMMUNE, saquinavir, SLO-BID, THEO-24, theophylline, THORAZINE, tiagabine, TOPROL XL, TRILEPTAL, VIBRAMYCIN, valproic acid, VIRACEPT, warfarin.
Adverse Effects [top]
Call your doctor immediately if you experience:
Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:
Call your doctor if these symptoms continue after you stop taking this drug:
Signs of overdose:
If you suspect an overdose, call this number to contact your poison control center: (800) 222-1222.
Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:
last reviewed December 31, 2022