Luminal – FAQ

Luminal (phenobarbital) is a barbiturate anticonvulsant/hypnotic drug that is used to treat certain types of seizures as well as tension, anxiety, and fear. Like all drugs in the barbiturate class, Luminal works on the body’s central nervous system (CNS) to slow down brain functions that control voluntary actions in the user by regulating abnormal electrical activity levels. This produces a sedative or calming effect and helps the person relax or sleep.

Drugs like Luminal are typically prescribed for short durations – up to two weeks, though sometimes this can be extended. However, over time the efficacy of Luminal can be reduced, causing the user to use more of the drug than was prescribed or use it more often. This can lead to overdose or addiction to Luminal.

Side effects or signs of overdose can include rapid or slowed breathing, cold and clammy skin, loss of coordination, uncontrolled eye movement, blood pressure issues, dramatically slowed heart rate, decreased body temperature, changes in pupil size, loss of consciousness, and a deep sleep (similar to a coma).

Ceasing use of Luminal can induce withdrawal side effects – with some being very serious. These can include anxiety, insomnia, twitching, hallucinations, seizure and possibly death. It is recommended that use of Luminal be tapered and monitored by a health care provider to avoid complications of the side effects during withdrawal.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Luminal addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Check out our related topics or call the confidential, toll-free hotline to speak with a specialist to learn more about treatment options.