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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation


What is pentobarbital?

Pentobarbital is used short-term to treat insomnia, or to cause you to fall asleep for surgery.

Pentobarbital is also used as an emergency treatment for seizures.

Pentobarbital may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Pentobarbital side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Pentobarbital may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

confusion, agitation, hallucinations;

weak or shallow breathing;

slow heart rate, weak pulse; or

a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

Side effects such as confusion, depression, or excitement may be more likely in older adults and those who are ill or debilitated.

Common side effects of pentobarbital may include:

drowsiness, dizziness;

loss of balance or coordination;

nausea, vomiting, constipation;

overactive reflexes;

sleep problems (insomnia), nightmares; or

feeling restless or excited (especially in children or older adults).

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