Barbiturate Toxicity

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Barbiturates are sedative-hypnotic drugs. They are derivates of barbituric acid and were introduced clinically in the early 1900s. Over the past 120 years, barbiturates have been used for a broad spectrum of indications, including insomnia, psychiatric disorders, anesthesia, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and elevated intracranial pressure. These drugs have a narrow therapeutic index, are highly addictive, and carry a high risk for toxicity. Thus, the use of these drugs has declined mainly in the last several decades in favor of agents with more favorable safety profiles. Despite a lower rate of barbiturate utilization overall, barbiturate toxicity is still a prevalent cause of significant morbidity and mortality that requires prompt and effective care to mitigate.

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  • Study Guide