What Is Pentothal (Thiopental)?

Pentothal, also known by the generic name thiopental, is a barbiturate medication. Barbiturates work by slowing processes in the brain and central nervous system, helping to ease pain and relax the muscles. Pentothal is typically used before a patient receives anesthesia.
Barbiturates, such as Pentothal, directly affect brain neurotransmitters and can lead to significant side effects such as extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, slowed heartbeat and even sedation. Barbiturates are known to be highly addictive and, as a result, it is imperative that patients only use Pentothal under the care of a physician.

How Is Pentothal (Thiopental) Used?

Pentothal is a barbiturate drug that is given to patients before they receive general anesthesia. Pentothal helps the body relax before undergoing a procedure or surgery. This medication is administered intravenously by a doctor. Pentothal may cause severe dizziness and drowsiness for hours.

Pentothal is powerful enough to put patients sleep within a matter of moments. Medical staff constantly check the patient’s vitals after they receive Pentothal, in order to ensure that blood pressure, oxygen levels, and respiratory rate are within a normal range during surgery.

The Importance of Aftercare

Pentothal causes powerful side effects that can linger for hours —making it important to avoid operating machinery or doing any activities that require alertness for the first day after surgery. You will need a ride home from your procedure since this medication causes extreme drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol within the first 24 hours after taking Pentothal as the depressant qualities of both substances together can lead to severe side effects or a blackout.

Always inform your doctor of any other prescriptions you are currently taking before being injected with Pentothal. Taking Pentothal in combination with other medications, especially other central nervous system depressants, can lead to serious side effects, allergic reaction or even overdose.

Pentothal (Thiopental) Addiction

Pentothal is an extremely powerful barbiturate. Pentothal is administered by a healthcare professional who will monitor patients closely for any adverse side effects. Common side effects of Pentothal include persistent drowsiness, slowed breathing, shivering, slowed heartbeat, coughing or tightness in the chest.

Severe side effects, such as difficulty breathing, hives or facial swelling, may indicate an allergic reaction to the medication. Since Pentothal is dispensed within a medical setting, the risk of overdose is low. This medication should always be administered by a medical professional —and you should never use Pentothal without a doctor’s supervision. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, seek life-changing help today. Recovery can start with just a phone call.

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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.