Signs Symptoms and Side Effects of Pentobarbital Abuse

Patients prescribed pentobarbital are at risk of suffering undesirable side effects and of developing a psychological addiction, both cases of which can be severe. People who misuse Pentobarbital are known to mix it with other drugs, increasing the chance of the dangerous side effects.

Some side effects of taking pentobarbital include problems with memory or concentration, excitement, irritability, aggression, confusion, loss of coordination, nightmares, nausea, vomiting, constipation and headache.

Serious side effects may include:

  • hallucinations,
  • weak or shallow breathing
  • slow heart rate
  • weak pulse
  • respiratory depression

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects from pentobarbital.

Administering pentobarbital through an IV too rapidly can cause respiratory depression, apnea, laryngospasm (affecting breathing and speaking), or a widening of the blood vessels causing a fall in blood pressure.

The following are signs of a possible Pentobarbital overdose:

  • weak pulse
  • low blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • breathing problems
  • kidney failure
  • low energy
  • unsteady gait
  • slurred speech
  • headache
  • loss of consciousness
  • delirium
  • confusion
  • rash or blisters

All side effects are a medical emergency and must be dealt with right away or there is a risk of brain damage, coma or death.

What Is Pentobarbital?

Pentobarbital is a brand name for the short acting barbiturate pentobarbital. The drug can be used for sedation or hypnotic purposes and can even induce a coma. Additional cases in which Pentobarbital is a recommended drug include acting as an anticonvulsant in emergency situations, and as a short-term medication to help with insomnia or to manage seizures.

Pentobarbital works by altering the levels of the central nervous system (CNS) and suppressing respiration. It’s not only used in some doses as anesthesia, but also for euthanasia in humans and animals.

By binding to the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters in the brain, Pentobarbital causes the CNS to be depressed and results in the desired state of consciousness of the patient.

Pentobarbital Addiction

Pentobarbital has a high possibility of becoming psychologically addictive, so doctors only prescribe as much of this medication necessary to get the patient through to their next appointment. Patients often increase or decrease the amount of pentobarbital they ingest, despite the prescription instructions, so you should work closely with your doctor to make sure you aren’t in danger of accidentally misusing the medication.

Do not abruptly stop taking Pentobarbital, as you may experience severe sign effects. Stopping the use of this prescription should be monitored by your doctor.

As mentioned, the side effects of misusing pentobarbital can be severe and dangerous.

Pentobarbital Long-Term Effects

Long-term effects for those who chronically misuse pentobarbital can include physical dependence, cancer, birth defects, cognitive deficits, hypersensitivity, musculoskeletal, skin and metabolic issues, cardiovascular, respiratory and psychological issues, endocrine issues or early death.

These long-term effects, however, are associated with chronic use and don’t necessarily apply to those taking pentobarbital as prescribed for the short-term. Work with your doctor to make sure this treatment is right for you, as they can help you weigh the pros and cons of Pentobarbital use.

If you feel you or a loved one is misusing Pentobarbital, don’t wait to get help.  Go online to or call our toll-free hotline 24/7 at 855-548-9825 to learn more about the road to recovery. We can help you overcome your addiction 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.