What is this medicine?
PHENOBARBITAL (fee noe BAR bi tal) is a barbiturate. It may be used to help you sleep or may be used to help control seizures.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. If the medicine upsets your stomach, take it with food or milk. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice. If you have been taking this medicine regularly and suddenly stop taking it, you may increase the risk of seizures. Your doctor may gradually reduce the dose.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as newborns for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
fever, chills, or sore throat
redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusually weak or tired
worsening of mood, thoughts or actions of suicide or dying
yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
alcohol or medicines that contain alcohol
medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
medicines for pain including pentazocine, buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, tramadol, and propoxyphene
medicines for sleep
steroid medicines like prednisone or cortisone
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and against the law.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
drug abuse or addiction
if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
lung or breathing disease, like asthma
suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
an unusual or allergic reaction to phenobarbital, other barbiturates, other medicines, lactose, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress.
If you are taking this medicine for seizures, wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have seizures, and carry a card that lists all your medications.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Birth control pills may not work properly while you are taking this medicine. Talk to your doctor about using an extra method of birth control.
The use of this medicine may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions. Pay special attention to how you are responding while on this medicine. Any worsening of mood, or thoughts of suicide or dying should be reported to your health care professional right away.
Women who become pregnant while using this medicine may enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry by calling 1-888-233-2334. This registry collects information about the safety of antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy.