How Long Does Seconal (Secobarbital) Stay in Your System?

Seconal is a brand name barbiturate drug which is also known as secobarbital in its generic form. Seconal was invented in 1934. It has anxiety-reducing properties and was originally prescribed as an anxiolytic and sleep-aid. After decades of widespread use, it became clear that Seconal can be highly addictive.

Today, Seconal is most commonly used in doctor-assisted suicide. It’s also an anticonvulsant drug and can be used to reduce seizures in patients who have epilepsy. It’s advised to exercise caution when taking Seconal and to be vigilant for signs of addiction and withdrawal. Seconal can be both psychologically and physically addictive over the course of extended treatment.

Seconal reaches peak levels in the body between two to four hours following administration. Most patients eliminate the drug in the urine roughly 28 hours after taking the drug.

Seconal (Secobarbital) Prescription Facts

Secobarbital is a powerful central nervous depressant. Tell your doctor if you have breathing problems, severe liver disease, porphyria, kidney disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, mental illness, or a drug or alcohol addiction. Seconal should never be shared with friends or family. When taking Seconal for insomnia, it should only be consumed close to bedtime due to the rapid onset of drowsiness that occurs.

Seconal (Secobarbital) Regulations

In 2015, Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to Seconal from Marathon Pharmaceuticals. A generic form of secobarbital is still produced by the company Ohm and is available outside of the United States. In the United States, Seconal is only available through Valeant Pharmaceuticals in the form of 100 mg capsules. There are currently no generic versions of the drug available in the U.S. market.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Seconal (Secobarbital)

When it comes to recreational drug use, barbiturates like secobarbital were commonly abused in the same way that benzodiazepines like Xanax are today. Individuals who become addicted to these drugs take them for their sedating and anxiety-reducing effects. Seconal use and abuse were common in the 1960s and 1970s. Common names for the drug included “red dillies,” “red devils,” and “reds” because of the red color of the capsules. By the early 1980s, benzodiazepines began to replace barbiturates like Seconal, and the rates of recreational secobarbital use decreased.

How Seconal (Secobarbital) Affects the Brain and Body

Seconal achieves its effects by depressing central nervous activity. It does so by binding to specific GABA-receptors. This increases the expression of GABA and promotes its ability to calm overactive brain activity.

Because Seconal depresses central nervous activity, you should exercise caution when mixing it with other central nervous system depressants. The combined effects of sleep medications like Ambien with secobarbital can slow breathing and heart rates to dangerously low levels. Consult with your doctor if you plan on taking cough medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsant medications, narcotic pain medications, or medications that treat depression and anxiety. Some herbal supplements and vitamins may also cause complications and should be disclosed to your doctor.

Half-Life of Seconal (Secobarbital)

The elimination half-life of Seconal is between 15 and 40 hours for adults, with a mean elimination time of 28 hours. The half-life of Seconal for children ages 2 to 13 is 2.7 to 13.5 hours. Roughly 45% to 60% of Seconal is excreted as inactive metabolites of the drug. Only small amounts of the unchanged drug pass through the urine.

Factors That Influence How Long Seconal (Secobarbital) Stays in Your System

Both the age and the specific medical history of the patient can influence dosage requirements and how long secobarbital remains in the system. Children process the drug significantly faster than adults. Geriatric patients are generally not administered Seconal. Individuals with renal (kidneys) impairment or hepatic (liver) impairment are also recommended other central nervous depressants.

How Long Does Seconal (Secobarbital) Stay In Your Urine, Hair, and Blood?

Secobarbital is present in the urine of adult patients within 15 hours of administration. It can remain at testable levels in the urine for up to 40 hours. The mean rate of elimination for adults is 28 hours. Children process the drug more quickly than adults. For children between 2 to 13 years-of-age, Seconal takes a maximum of 13.5 hours to be excreted. Oral Seconal is well-absorbed at a rate of 90% and is metabolized by the microsomal enzyme system in the liver. Seconal is typically administered as a 100-mg yellow capsule and has an onset of action of 10 to 15 minutes.

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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.