barbiturate


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Related to barbiturate: barbiturate coma, barbiturate poisoning

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 ?
Since most of the concerns of using drugs for capital punishment involve problems with injecting the drugs, an obvious alternative probably meeting constitutional muster would be for states to simply use pills rather than injections to administer drugs such as barbiturates, which are readily available and whose lethal properties are well known and very clearly established.
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.
CHICAGO, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey of hundreds of migraine patients and physicians commissioned by the National Headache Foundation and conducted by Harris Interactive shows that 20 percent of migraine patients are currently taking potentially addictive medications that contain barbiturates or opioids and have not been approved by the U.
Barbiturates, opioids, and sedative drugs might work well for an individual headache, but when used repeatedly over decades, they can paradoxically worsen the headache disorder, contribute to disability, and even lead to additional problems.
The goal of barbiturate therapy in the treatment of refractory elevated ICP is to decrease ICP to levels below 20 mm Hg.
Interestingly enough, the first barbiturate ever made didn't have any pharmacological activity.
The use of barbiturates by dental patients may be prescribed for severe insomnia or control of epilepsy.
Heterogeneity of benzodiazepine receptor interactions with gamma-aminobutyric acid and barbiturate receptor sites.
This technique - using barbiturate pills approved by the FDA for some uses, but not for use in executions - might permit this recommendation to be followed, although almost certainly not in the way the Project intended, says Banzhaf.
1962: Marilyn Monroe died alone in her bedroom from "acute barbiturate poisoning".
1962: Marilyn Monroe died alone aged 36 in her bedroom from acute barbiturate poisoning.