[Barbiturates as hypnotics]

Nihon Rinsho. 2009 Aug;67(8):1585-9.
[Article in Japanese]


Barbiturates had been playing an important role in treating insomnia for more than 100 years. To date, benzodiazepines and related compounds seem to be superseding the role of barbiturates because of their relative safeness. In this article, a brief summary on barbiturates as hypnotics is described including the history of development, mechanism of action, and disadvantageous pharmacological properties that limit application as sleep-inducing medication. Unrecognized problems concerning barbiturate prescription in Japan are also discussed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barbiturates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Barbiturates
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives