An often used synthetic drug in medicine are barbiturates, which are used to depress the central nervous system. A person who has taken or prescribed barbiturates can be mildly sedated or lapse into a coma, or anywhere in between depending on the dose used. Barbiturates are used as sedatives, hypnotics, or as part of anesthesia. They are also used to relieve anxiety of tension prior to surgery helping the patient to relax.
The effects of barbiturates vary depending on the person and dose, plus the use of them sometimes may lead to greater use and less effect, so people tend to overuse them to get the same effect. Small doses may help a person feel relaxed, uninhibited, free of anxiety and sleepy. Larger doses can cause hostility, anxiety, slurred speech, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Withdrawal from them can lead to other mild or severe complications as well.
Pharmacological barbiturates are created using barbituric acid. Since 1881, about 2,500 different types of barbiturates have been manufactured. Only about 50 of them have ever been used for medicinal purposes. The first ever barbiturate was barbital used as a sleeping aid beginning in 1903 until the 1950s.
They may be prescribed to assist a person who has insomnia, is depressed, or wishes to relieve general anxiety. Unfortunately, the minor difference between a small helpful dose and a higher dose could lead to overdose, accidental death, or lead a person to commit suicide.
Because of their dangers or misuse, barbiturates as sedatives or hypnotics have mostly been replaced by safer medications and are usually no longer prescribed for such uses. Currently, they are used only in extreme cases of insomnia, as well as useful in controlling seizures in epilepsy or along with anesthesia. Barbiturates can only be prescribed by a doctor and are available in tablets, capsules, elixirs, solutions, and other forms. Unauthorized use and obtainment of a barbiturate is against the law.
1. Secobarbital: Treats sleep disorders, or used as a sedative prior to anesthesia for surgery. As it depresses the central nervous system it causes mild sedation or sleep and can be taken by the mouth. Side effects can include clumsiness, dizziness or drowsiness during the day.
2. Mephobarbital: Treats anxiety, tension, and apprehension as well as preventing seizures. Besides depressing the nervous system, it can also affect the brain. An increased dose can cause sleep or a coma. Since it causes the brain to relax it is used to decrease seizure activity. It may include the same side effects as Secobarbital plus headaches, vomiting, and feelings of weakness.
3. Phenobarbital: It is generally used for the short-term treatment of sleeplessness, anxiety relief, tension and fear. Also used for the treatment of seizures during an emergency. It is mostly used to help a person relax and fall asleep. Side effects can include an agitated mood, confusion, low blood pressure, and several others.
4. Pentobarbital: Slows the activity of the brain and nervous system and used to treat insomnia, cause sleep before surgery, or emergency treatment for seizures. The side effects can include those previously listed in the other examples plus loss of balance and coordination, nightmares, overactive reflexes, and others.
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