barbiturate

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Related to Barbiturates: Benzodiazepines

barbiturate

(bärbĭch`ərāt'), any one of a group of drugs that act as depressantsdepressant,
any one of various substances that diminish functional activity, usually by depressing the nervous system. Barbiturates, sedatives, alcohol, and meprobamate are all depressants. Depressants have various modes of action and effects.
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 on the central nervous systemnervous system,
network of specialized tissue that controls actions and reactions of the body and its adjustment to the environment. Virtually all members of the animal kingdom have at least a rudimentary nervous system.
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. High doses depress both nerve and muscle activity and inhibit oxygen consumption in the tissues. In low doses barbiturates act as sedativessedative,
any of a variety of drugs that relieve anxiety. Most sedatives act as mild depressants of the nervous system, lessening general nervous activity or reducing the irritability or activity of a specific organ.
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, i.e., they have a tranquilizing effect; increased doses have a hypnotic or sleep-inducing effect; still larger doses have anticonvulsant and anesthetic activity. The mechanism of action on the central nervous system is not known. The barbiturates are all derivatives of barbituric acid, which was first prepared in 1864 by the German organic chemist Adolf von Baeyer.

The drugs differ widely in the duration of their action, which depends on the rapidity with which they are distributed in body tissues, degraded, and excreted. Ultrashort-acting barbiturates such as thiopental sodium (Pentothal) are often used as general anesthetics. Secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal) are short-acting barbiturates, amobarbital (Amytal) is intermediate in duration of action, and phenobarbital (Luminal) is a long-acting derivative.

Barbiturates are used to relax patients before surgery, as anticonvulsants, and as sleeping pills. They also are commonly abused. Taken regularly, barbiturates can be psychologically and physically addictive (see drug addiction and drug abusedrug addiction and drug abuse,
chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than medically warranted purposes. Traditional definitions of addiction, with their criteria of physical dependence and withdrawal (and often an underlying
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). Barbiturate addicts must be withdrawn from the drug gradually to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms such as convulsions. Overdose can cause coma or death. In the United States the manufacture and distribution of barbiturates were brought under federal control by the 1965 Drug Abuse and Control Act, and they are legally available only by prescription.

Bibliography

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

barbiturate

[bär′bich·ə·rət]
(pharmacology)
Any of a group of ureides, such as phenobarbital, Amytal, or Seconal, that act as central nervous system depressants.

barbiturate

a derivative of barbituric acid, such as phenobarbital, used in medicine as a sedative, hypnotic, or auticonvulsant
References in periodicals archive ?
So the common and generally accepted practice of prescribing drugs for "off-label use" - using a drug approved for one purpose to do something else -might permit states to use barbiturate pills in executions, and perhaps even allow them to again be imported from abroad, says Banzhaf, based upon the FDA's website publication "Understanding Investigational Drugs and Off Label Use of Approved Drugs.
Barbiturates are contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to barbiturates, severe respiratory or kidney diseases, or a history of addiction to sedative-hypnotics (Wilson et al.
The use of barbiturates may provide any degree of depression of the central nervous system: from mild sedation to deep coma.
Unlike crank and speed, barbiturates and other prescription sedative-hypnotics were produced by pharmaceutical companies and reached the street-drug user in many ways, such as diversion by pharmacists, inappropriate prescribing, and diversion from pharmaceutical companies (Smith & Wesson 1973).
It looks like Jasmine could be a drug-free replacement for some benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and even anesthetics like propofol.
However, it was Anthony who told Harrison he had tested positive for barbiturates.
In 2006, 47-year-old motor neurone disease sufferer, former DVLA worker Paul Bennett, a father-of-one, travelled from his Swansea home to Dignitas where he died "quickly and in a dignified manner" through a lethal overdose of barbiturates.
Justins, 60, was found guilty in June of the manslaughter of Graeme Wylie, who died of a barbiturate overdose aged 71 at their home in 2006.
Dignitas was set up by 74-year-old human rights lawyer Ludwig Minelli and charges clients pounds 46 for a lethal dose of barbiturates, which they must self-administer.
A post mortem examination later found a huge amount of barbiturates in her system.