Pills of barbiturate

What is Barbiturate?

Many are surprised when they hear that barbiturates are still used today. Commonly prescribed in the 1960s and 1970s, they are central nervous system depressants that are used to treat sleep disorders, headaches, seizures, and anxiety disorders. Most barbiturate medications, however, have been replaced by benzodiazepines. 

Due to the dangers of the drug, the rate in which they are prescribed has significantly declined. These dangers include dependency potential and risk of overdose. They have a high potential for abuse and addiction due to desirable effects such as relief from anxiety and mild euphoria. These positive effects reinforce long-term use which, oftentimes, increases tolerance and frequency in use. This raises both the risk of addiction development as well as the risk of overdose. Side effects associated with barbiturates are:

  • Dizziness 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sedation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

The effects of barbituates can begin in 15 minutes, but usually takes 30-60 minutes to begin working. Symptoms of overuse of barbitubirates are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Altered mental state
  • Staggering
  • Sluggishness
  • Mood changes

More seriously, barbiurates can slow your breathing, decrease your heart rate, and be habit forming. When ingested in large quantities, barbituate use can result it long-term side effects, such as emotional instability, paranoid ideation, and even death. 

There are certain drugs that interact with barbiturates, therefore, they should be used with caution. They can accelerate the breakdown of some medications leading to a decrease in their effectiveness. Some of the medications that interact with barbiturates are Reyataz, Victrelis, Latuda, Ranexa, Incivek, Vfend, and Norvir. Furthermore, use of the drug with other central nervous system depressant medications can lead to extreme sedation, lethargy, and, in very severe cases, coma and death. Some central nervous system depressants that this can happen with are Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ambien, and Sonata.

History of Barbiturate

First used in medicine in the early 1900s and quickly becoming popular, Barbiturates include amobarbital, butabarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital, phenobarbital, and more. In the 1960s and 1970s, they were most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, or seizure disorders. Although the drug was safe to take as prescribed, it quickly became a dangerous recreational drug. In New York City alone between 1965 and 1970, there were 12,354 deaths caused by barbiturate overdoses. 

Since then, however, its use has declined significantly mainly due to medical professionals prescribing benzodiazepines as opposed to barbiturates. Although benzodiazepines have become more popular, in 2018 approximately 405,000 Americans 12 years-old and higher reported using barbiturates, and 32,000 Americans in the same demographic reported misuse. 

Barbiturate Withdrawal

When attempting to come off of the drug, there are some noticeable side effects. These side effects are due to dependency on the drug. Withdrawal can be highly uncomfortable and, in some cases, life threatening. Some withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Insomnia

Barbiturate Street Names

Often referred to by many different names, below is a list of some of names that are used to refer to barbiturates: 

Amobarbital: Downers, blue heavens, blue velvet, blue devils

Pentobarbital: Nembies, yellow jackets, abbots, Mexican yellows

Phenobarbital: Purple hearts, goof balls

Secobarbital: Reds, red birds, red devils, lilly, F-40s, pinks, pink ladies, seggy

Tuinal: Rainbows, reds and blues, tooies, double trouble, gorilla pills, F-66s

Other common street names for barbiturates are: 

  • Blue Bullets
  • Blue Birds
  • Blue Angels
  • Blue Tips
  • Blue Dolls
  • Green Frog
  • Green Dragons
  • Marshmallow Reds
  • Pink Ladies
  • Red Bullets
  • Rainbows
  • Strawberries

If you are struggling with barbiturate use or abuse, Design for Recovery can help you regain control over your life. Design for Recovery is a sober living home for men which offers you a safe space equipped with peer support, character building, and a structured schedule.

With the help of Design for Recovery’s sober living services, you can begin to develop skills that will help you stay sober long-term.

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