Phenobarbital is used to control seizures. Phenobarbital is also used to relieve anxiety. It is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people who are dependent ('addicted'; feel a need to continue taking the medication) on another barbiturate medication and are going to stop taking the medication. Phenobarbital is in a class of medications called barbiturates. It works by slowing activity in the brain.
Phenobarbital comes as a tablet and an elixir (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken one to three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take phenobarbital exactly as directed.
If you take phenobarbital for a long time, it may not control your symptoms as well as it did at the beginning of your treatment. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment.
Phenobarbital can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking phenobarbital without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking phenobarbital, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, muscle twitching, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, weakness, dizziness, changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, seizures, confusion,difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or dizziness or fainting when getting up from a lying position. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
excitement or increased activity (especially in children)
slowed breathing or difficulty breathing
swelling of the eyes, lips, or cheeks
blistering or peeling skin
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
uncontrollable movements of the eyes
loss of coordination
drop in body temperature
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to phenobarbital.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 05/16/2011
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.