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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Extreme confusion, severe drowsiness, shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing, fever, bleeding, rash, hives, hallucinations. Stop taking the drug and call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects.
Common

Clumsiness or unsteadiness; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness; hangover like feelings.
Less Common

Nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, irritability, sleep disturbances including nightmares and difficulty falling asleep.
Amobarbital/Secobarbital


Drug Class:
Barbiturate; central nervous system depressant

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Capsules

Why Prescribed
Amobarbital/secobarbital was previously used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It is now prescribed only rarely by doctors, usually for the purpose of sedation.

How It Works
This medication is actually two barbiturates, amobarbital and secobarbital, in combination. These drugs act on the central nervous system as a powerful sedative.

Range and Frequency
100 or 200 mg at bedtime.

Onset of Effect
Within 15 minutes.

Duration of Action
From three to eight hours.

Dietary Advice
The capsules may be crushed and taken with food or liquids.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
Amobarbital/secobarbital is prescribed for once-daily use at bedtime only. If you are unable to take this medication on a particular night, resume only your regularly scheduled dose the following night. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Never stop taking the drug abruptly, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms (seizures, sleep disruption, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, muscle aches, memory impairment). Dosage should be reduced gradually, as directed by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
Barbiturates are habit-forming. Prolonged use of amobarbital/secobarbital increases the risk of dependency. Amobarbital/secobarbital should not be prescribed for long-term therapy because safer and more effective drugs are available.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of amobarbital/secobarbital may impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol completely; the combination of alcohol and barbiturates is potentially lethal.

Pregnancy
Discuss with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using this drug while pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Do not use this drug while nursing.

Infants and Children
This drug is not recommended for children.

Special Concerns
Amobarbital/secobarbital is a potentially dangerous drug. Barbiturates should not be used for the treatment of anxiety or stress.

Overdose Symptoms
Lethargy, excessive sleepiness, slurred speech, severe clumsiness, difficulty walking, confusion, extremely slow, noisy breathing, loss of consciousness. Some patients may become agitated and unusually excited (paradoxical excitation). Pupils may become very tiny, although with severe overdose the pupils may become very dilated.

What to Do
Contact emergency medical services (EMS) immediately.

Drug Interactions
The risk of an undesirable interaction is increased when amobarbital/secobarbital is used with any or all of the following drugs: alcohol-containing medicines, antihistamines, allergy medications, sedatives, antiseizure medications, pain medications (especially prescription pain relievers and narcotics), muscle relaxants, and antidepressants. Use of amobarbital/secobarbital may cause the following to be less effective: blood thinners, birth control pills, and medications similar to cortisone.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Patients with kidney or liver disease should avoid amobarbital/secobarbital. The drug may make the following conditions worse: asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases; mental depression; porphyria; and diabetes mellitus.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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