Barbiturates List - Examples Prescribed In The United States
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List Of Barbiturates Prescribed In The United States

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 23, 2019

Barbiturates belong in a class of drugs called Central Nervous System Depressants and are typically prescribed to treat people with insomnia or symptoms of anxiety.

Barbiturates are a class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When taken as prescribed, barbiturates help people with insomnia or with symptoms of anxiety. However, the abuse of these medications can have fatal consequences. Because barbiturates are highly addictive, they present a large risk of abuse and overdose. Knowing which barbiturates are prescribed in the United States, how they are abused, and side effects of abuse can aid in treating addiction before it’s too late. Use our barbiturates list to help you understand these drugs in more detail.

What Are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are CNS depressants, also called sedatives or tranquilizers, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. These drugs have largely been replaced in prescription use by benzodiazepines, but are still used for surgeries and to treat seizure disorders. They can also be highly addictive and present high risk of overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Barbiturates work by suppressing the CNS—essentially, they slow brain functions. Slowing brain function affects the parts of the body which control voluntary actions. With increased dosage, barbiturates affect a person’s automatic, unconscious functions, such as breathing and heart rate. It is in this way that barbiturate abuse and addiction is dangerous.

How Are Barbiturates Abused?

Many barbiturates are available in oral form, so typical abuse is through oral ingestion (swallowing the tablet). But for a quicker onset of the drug’s effects, some may choose to inject the drug directly into their veins. In this way, barbiturate abuse looks a lot like heroin abuse.

Injecting barbiturates requires a larger needle gauge as the drugs are thick when converted to liquid form. Using a larger needle results in large abrasions to the injection sites, similar in appearance to cigarette burns. Of those who abuse barbiturates, or develop addiction to them, the majority obtain them through a personal prescription or from someone they know.

What Are The Side Effects Of Barbiturate Abuse?

Side effects of barbiturates are similar to those of alcohol, which is also a depressant, and may include:

  • Changes in concentration
  • Changes to judgment
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Lack of or low regard for inhibitions
  • Impact to coordination and vision
  • Impact on speech: slow, mumbling, or incoherent
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Vomiting

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Drug Info – Are There Risks With Barbiturate Abuse?

Yes. Barbiturate abuse is dangerous because it slows brain and body functions at an increased rate. Use of barbiturates presents risk; abuse of barbiturates can lead to a host of long-term effects, including:

  • Breathing troubles
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sexual issues
  • Sleep issues
  • Fatal overdose

One of the biggest risks associated with barbiturates is the margin of overdose—increasing barbiturate dosage by only a small amount can lead to overdose. Before someone you know risks his or her life, help get necessary treatment by calling

List Of Drugs Classified as Barbiturates

When looking for signs of barbiturate abuse, it may be helpful to know which barbiturates are on the market. Barbiturates are classified in four groups: ultra short acting, short acting, intermediate acting, and long acting.

Ultra short acting are typically used in anesthesia, injected intravenously, and produce anesthetic results in one minute or less. Short acting to intermediate acting achieve results in 15 to 40 minutes. Long acting barbiturates take effect in about an hour, and last about 12 hours.

Barbiturates are listed by a generic name and marketed under different brand names. When sold for recreational use and abuse, the drugs have other names. Barbiturates are also available in combination with pain relievers.

Brand Names:

  • Allonal
  • Amytal Sodium
  • Brevital
  • Butabarb
  • Butalan
  • Buticaps
  • Butisol Sodium
  • Luminal
  • Mebaral
  • Mephyltaletten
  • Nembutal
  • Nembutal Sodium
  • Oramon
  • Pentothal
  • Phemiton
  • Prominal
  • Sarisol
  • Seconal
  • Somnifaine
  • Surital

Generic Names:

  • Amobarbital sodium
  • Aprobarbital
  • Butabarbital
  • Mephobarbital (methylophenobarbital)
  • Methohexital
  • Pentobarbital
  • Phenobarbital
  • Primidone
  • Secobarbital
  • Thiopental sodium
  • Thyamilal

Street Names:

  • Amobarbital: blue heavens, blue devils, blue velvet, downers
  • Pentobarbital: abbots, Mexican yellow, nembies, yellow jackets
  • Phenobarbital: goof balls, purple hearts
  • Secobarbital: F-40s, lily, pinks, pink ladies, red birds, red devils, reds, seggy,
  • General street names: barbs, blockbusters, christmas trees, downers, phennies, sleepers

Ultra Short-Acting:

  • Brevital (Methohexital)
  • Pentothal (Thiopental sodium)
  • Surital (Thiamylal)

Short-Acting to Intermediate Acting:

  • Amytal (Amobarbital)
  • Alurate (Aprobarbital)
  • Butisol (Butobarbital)
  • Nembutal (Phenobarbital)
  • Seconal (Secobarbital)


  • Luminal (Phenobarbital)
  • Mebaral (Mephobarbital)
  • Prominal (Methylophenobarbital)

Combination Barbiturates:

Combinations of Butalbital (barbiturate) and Acetaminophen (pain reliever) are available in the following brand names:

  • Anolor 300
  • Bupap
  • Capacet
  • Cephadyn
  • Dolgic LQ
  • Esgic
  • Esgic-Plus
  • Ezol
  • Fioricet
  • Geone
  • Margesic
  • Orbivan CF
  • Phrenilin
  • Phrenilin Forte
  • Zebutal

What Are The Available Treatments For Barbiturate Abuse?

If you know someone who needs help for barbiturate abuse and addiction, do not despair. Treatment is not impossible—it’s actually quite possible when you find the right help. Inpatient rehab centers offer a quality of care you won’t find elsewhere.

The rehab center difference is a comprehensive treatment plan for all addicted individuals. This means participants get help with treating any and all disorders (dual diagnosis). Healing in one of our rehab centers allows you to get away from the triggers of your usual environment.

Stepping away from the stressors of everyday life is important to your recovery. Your number one focus during recovery should be healing of your body, mind, and spirit. Many rehab centers combine a number of treatment methods which allow you to do just that. Just some of the methods available at our treatment centers are:

Get Into Drug Treatment Today and Improve Your Health

Every addicted individual deserves a chance at a new life. Inpatient rehab can give you or your loved one that chance. Don’t let barbiturate abuse rob you of the life you deserve. Contact us today at for more information on rehab centers, treatment options, and help with addiction.


California State University-Long Beach - CNS Depressants

Drug Free World - Depressants

Mayo Clinic - Butalbital And Acetaminophen Combination

Medical News Today - What Are Barbiturates?

National Institute On Drug Abuse - Prescription Drugs: Abuse And Addiction

National Institute On Drug Abuse - What Are CNS Depressants?

U.S. National Library Of Medicine - Barbiturate Intoxication And Overdose

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