How Long Does Pentobarbital Stay in Your System?

Pentobarbital is in a class of drugs called barbiturates and they are central nervous system depressants. Pentobarbital is prescribed as a sedative-hypnotic to treat short-term insomnia; however, it is also recommended to treat seizures, anxiety, and administered with general anesthesia before surgery. Pentobarbital is only administered intravenously or intramuscularly under medical supervision by a trained medical professional.

Because Pentobarbital is a barbiturate, it has a high risk for addiction and is classified as a Schedule II and Schedule III Controlled Substance. Many people obtain Pentobarbital illegally and misuse the drug, often leading to fatal overdose since barbiturates slow down heart rate.

Pentobarbital Prescription Facts

Pentobarbital is meant to be used only under medical supervision; however, barbiturates are obtainable. Below are some facts about barbiturates like Pentobarbital provided by Health Research Funding:

  • In 2001, barbiturates were used by 2.8 percent of high school seniors.
  • More than 10 million prescriptions are written out for barbiturates each year, estimating that 1 in 3 households in the U.S. have a barbiturate.
  • 33 percent of drug-related deaths are connected to barbiturates.
  • 8 percent of barbiturates produced in the U.S. are illegal.
  • 42 percent of deaths linked to barbiturates are classified as suicide.

Pentobarbital Regulations

Pentobarbital is a Scheduled II Controlled Substance because it has a high risk for patients to develop a psychological addiction. Each doctor or medical facility must carefully track every Pentobarbital dosage given due to the regulations put into place. After barbiturate misuse grew in the 60s and 70s, it was labeled as a controlled substance under the use of medical supervision to avoid further overdoses and substance misuse.

Pentobarbital injection is not available for at-home use. It can only be used in a professional medical setting.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Pentobarbital

The active chemical found in Pentobarbital are sodium salts, which are found in several other barbiturates.

The most commonly used barbiturates containing sodium salts are:

  • Amobarbital
  • Phenobarbital
  • Pentobarbital
  • Secobarbital

How Pentobarbital Affects the Brain and Body

Pentobarbital is a CNS depressant that can induce sleep, sedation, hypnosis, and a deep coma if too much is in one’s system.

Pentobarbital binds to nerve receptors which slow their activity and relaxes one’s muscles and body. Due to its sedative effects, someone taking Pentobarbital may experience lower blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate, making it extremely dangerous if an overdose occurs.

When a person takes Pentobarbital, the effects are:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor motor control and balance (stumbling, falling, dropping held items)
  • Disorientation (mental confusion)
  • Mood swings

Factors That Influence How Long Pentobarbital Stays in Your System

As mentioned, to determine how long Pentobarbital stays in someone’s system depends on certain factors, such as:

  • Which test is administered
  • The potency of the drug
  • Frequency of use
  • Metabolic rate
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Overall BMI
  • Age

Another contributing factor is how efficiently one’s kidney and liver works. The liver and kidney are the main organs in the human body responsible for filtration and elimination. If a person has a liver or kidney disease, it will slow down the rate of elimination. Digestive organs play a role in substance metabolism as well.

Half-Life of Pentobarbital

Several factors contribute to the half-life of Pentobarbital. On average Pentobarbital remains in someone’s system anywhere from 15 to 50 hours depending on how much was administered into the bloodstream. This means that the body will typically have eliminated half of the Pentobarbital in one’s body within 24 hours. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur around this time.

How Long Does Pentobarbital Stay in Your Urine, Hair, and Blood?

If someone is tested for Pentobarbital, several factors may affect the length of time it remains in their system. A more potent and greater dosage would stay in one’s body much longer than a small dose. Below is a list of each test and how long Pentobarbital can typically be registered in someone’s system:

  • Urine: 2 to 10 days (roughly two weeks)
  • Blood: 1 to 2 days depending on the dosage
  • Hair: Hair follicles can show traces of Pentobarbital for up to 90 days.

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.