What is Barbiturate?
Many are surprised when they hear that barbiturates are still used today. Commonly prescribed in the 1960s and 1970s, barbiturates 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 Most barbiturate medications, however, have been replaced by benzodiazepines.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 barbiturates, the rate in which they are prescribed has significantly declined. These dangers include dependency potential and risk of overdose. Barbiturates 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:
- 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:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Altered mental state
- 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, barbituates should be used with caution. Barbitbuates can accelerate the breakdown of some medications leading to a decrease in their effectiveness. Some of the medicatioins that interact with barbiturates are Reyataz, Victrelis, Latuda, Ranexa, Incivek, Vfend, and Norvir. Furthermore, use of barbiturates 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
Barbiturates were first used in medicine in the early 1900s and became popular. Barbiturates include amobarbital, butabarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital, phenobarbital, and more. In the 1960s and 1970s, barbiturates were most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, or seizure disorders. Although barbiturates were 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, barbiturate use has declined significantly mainly due to medical professionals prescribing benzodiazepines as opposed to barbiturates. Although benzodiazepines have become more popular than barbiturate, in 2018 approximately 405,000 Americans 12 years-old and higher reported using barbiturates, and 32,000 Americans in the same demographic reported misuse.
When attempting to come off of barbiturates, there are some noticeable side effects. These side effects are due to dependency on the drug. Barbituate withdrawal can be highly uncomfortable and, in some cases, life threatening. Some withdrawal symptoms are:
- Lack of appetite
- Increased blood pressure
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of suicide
Barbiturate Street Names
Barbiturates are often referred to by many different names. Some names that are used to refer to specific barbituates are:
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
If you are struggling with barbiturate use or abuse, Design for Recovery can help you regain control over your life. Design for Recovery 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.