Pentothal (Thiopental) Prescription Facts

Pentothal is the brand name drug that is used to induce general anesthesia in patients prior to surgery. The generic form of the drug is thiopental. The medication is only given intravenously. Once it is given, the drug reaches the brain and the patient falls asleep in about 30 to 45 seconds. Pentothal is an ultra-short acting barbiturate and is only administered in a hospital setting under the care of qualified physicians and anesthesiologists. It is not prescribed to patients for personal use.

Pentothal is also used in veterinary medicine to induce general anesthesia.

How Long Does Pentothal (Thiopental) Stay in Your System?

Pentothal (thiopental) is a drug that is given intravenously and can stay in your system for up to 6 days, depending on a variety of factors. Inform your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects from Pentothal and avoid any interacting medications and alcohol while the drug remains in your system. If you’re unsure about the safety of taking other medications or drinking alcohol after receiving an injection of Pentothal, talk to your doctor.

Pentothal (Thiopental) Regulations

Pentothal is prepared by diluting the sterile powder into the appropriate solution. It can only be administered by a person qualified in the administration of intravenous anesthesia.

In addition to being used to induce general anesthesia in humans and animals, Pentothal can be used for other purposes in various parts of the world. Other uses include lethal injection, euthanasia, truth serum, psychiatry, stopping a seizure and to induce a coma.

People with liver disease, Addison’s disease, myxedema, severe heart disease, severe hypotension, severe breathing disorders, or a family history of porphyria should not be given Pentothal. Inform your doctor of your full medical history.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Pentothal (Thiopental)

Pentothal belongs to the barbiturate family. Other drugs in this category can be prescribed and are often abused. Pentothal, on the other hand, is unlikely to be abused because it is heavily regulated and only dispensed in a hospital setting with a strict protocol that limits who can administer it to patients. It is not given out via personal prescription.

How Pentothal (Thiopental) Affects the Brain and Body

Pentothal is injected into the vein and crosses the blood-brain barrier within 30 to 45 seconds after administration. The medication slows brain and nervous system activity, rendering the patient unconscious. Since Pentothal is a lipid-soluble anesthetic drug, it is quickly redistributed to muscle and fat within the body. The remainder of the drug is processed by the liver.

The medication works by slowing down brain and nervous system activity and has a number of possible side effects that can last up to 36 hours after administration. These side effects may include:

  • dizziness
  • ongoing drowsiness
  • weak or shallow breathing
  • slow heartbeats
  • shivering
  • sneezing, coughing, tight feeling in the throat
  • trouble breathing

Tell your doctor or any other healthcare personnel at the hospital if you are experiencing any of these side effects so that you can receive proper care.

Half-Life of Pentothal (Thiopental)

The half-life of any medication is the amount of time it takes for that medication to lose half of its pharmacologic strength. The half-life of Pentothal is 11.5 to 26 hours in length, which is why the drug is not used to maintain an anesthetic state during surgery -as it would take too long for the patient to wake up.

Factors That Influence How Long Pentothal (Thiopental) Stays in Your System

Factors that influence the length of time Pentothal (thiopental) stays in the system are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Lean body mass

Check with your healthcare member and your doctor to determine the length of time Pentothal may stay in your system. Be sure to consider all of your personal factors.

How Long Does Pentothal (Thiopental) Stay in Your Urine, Hair, and Blood?

Pentothal can be detected in the urine for up to 3 days after injection. Inform your test taker if you have recently been given Pentothal and when so they can take that into consideration when reading the results of your drug test. Since this barbiturate can stay in your system for up to 6 days, it’s best to reveal any drugs that have been ingested into your body either orally or intravenously so that you can receive an accurate result.

If you feel that you or a loved one is misusing a barbiturate, don’t wait to get help. 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.