What Are Common Luminal (Phenobarbital) Withdrawal Symptoms?

One of the reasons that barbiturates have largely been replaced by benzodiazepine drugs is that they have a high potential for dependence. Dependence is possible with benzodiazepines as well, but the risk is lower. Luminal is a drug that is primarily used to treat seizures. It affects the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. In doing so, Luminal calms abnormal brain activity that can cause seizures. Luminal also slows the central nervous system. After the brain is repeatedly exposed to this drug, it can become so used to the action of Luminal and form a dependence. The larger the doses someone takes and the longer they take it, the more likely Luminal dependence is to occur. If someone is dependent upon Luminal and they suddenly attempt to stop taking it, they will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Common Luminal withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle twitching
  • Shaking
  • Weakness
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Delirium
  • Strange dreams
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Problems with memory
  • Changes in vision
  • Seizures

Barbiturates can have some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms of any drug class. Luminal withdrawal can be life-threatening and it’s important that anyone who is dependent on barbiturates seek help during the detox process. A medical detox is recommended in almost all cases of barbiturate dependence. Vitals and overall health need to be monitored during this process because of the potential complications associated with barbiturate withdrawal.

Luminal Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms Duration

The symptoms of Luminal withdrawal and the timeline of symptoms are similar to those of alcohol dependence and withdrawal. Minor Luminal withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur anywhere from 8 to 12 hours after the last dose is taken. The initial symptoms of the Luminal withdrawal timeline include anxiety, tremors and muscle twitching, weakness, dizziness and changes in visual perception. Other early signs of Luminal withdrawal can include nausea, vomiting and insomnia. Major and severe Luminal withdrawal symptoms usually start to occur within 16 hours after the last dose is taken. These symptoms can include convulsions and delirium. Severe symptoms can last up to 5 days after someone suddenly stops taking Luminal. Over a period of around 15 days, symptoms of Luminal withdrawal will start to subside. However, it is possible that some symptoms, particularly psychological symptoms, could linger for longer.

Managing Symptoms of Luminal Withdrawal

It is very important to manage Luminal withdrawal symptoms. First, someone who is dependent on Luminal or who has been using it for an extended period should follow a tapering-down schedule. When the dosage of Luminal is slowly tapered down, it mitigates or alleviates withdrawal symptoms. Stopping “cold turkey” or without medical supervision is one of the worst things that someone can do when they’re dependent upon a barbiturate. It’s never a good idea to try and do a home detox. Withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and potentially deadly so a medically-supervised detox program is the best treatment method.

Luminal Medications and Detox

When people are withdrawing from drugs like opioids, there are specific medicines that are FDA-approved for use during detox. That’s not the case with barbiturates or the similar drug class of benzodiazepines. There isn’t one specific medicine that can be used for Luminal withdrawal; however, if someone goes through Luminal detox in a professional, medical facility, medications can be used to treat the symptoms. For example, during a medical detox a patient can receive medications that can prevent seizures -which is one of the deadliest symptoms of Luminal detox. Other medications can be given to treat symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, nausea and vomiting. When a patient participates in a medically-supervised Luminal detox, it can keep them safer and more comfortable. It can also prevent life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from occurring.

How to Choose a Luminal Center

For someone who wants to go to a Luminal detox center, there are some things to keep in mind. First, the staff needs to include medical professionals in order to ensure that medications and other medical interventions can be administered if necessary. It can also be beneficial to choose a Luminal detox center that’s part of a larger addiction treatment facility. Detox doesn’t address addiction. It only deals with the symptoms of dependence. Following detox, patients ideally move seamlessly into addiction treatment in a facility where they’re already comfortable.

To learn more about medical detox, addiction, dependence and treatment contact The Recovery Village today.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.