Nembutal, the brand name for the generic drug, Pentobarbital Sodium, is in a group of drugs called barbiturates. Barbiturates are nonselective central nervous system depressants. Nembutal is commonly used to slow the activity of the brain and nervous system. It is used short-term to treat insomnia, although the drug seems to lose its effectiveness within a two -week period. Nembutal can also be used as an emergency treatment for seizures, and to cause someone to fall asleep for surgery. When used for seizures, it is most often seen in the treatment of acute episodes relating to meningitis, eclampsia, tetanus and status epilepticus. Nembutal also has an application in reducing intracranial pressure in Reye’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and induction of coma in cerebral ischemia patients.
Being in the barbiturate family, the drug has the potential to be habit forming. Tolerance to the drug, as well as physical and psychological dependence can occur with continual use. The drug is trademarked and manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, and is the only injectable form of pentobarbital approved for sale in the United States. In high doses, pentobarbital causes death by respiratory arrest. In the United States, the drug has been used for executions of humans. It is also one of the most popular drugs in euthanasia and drug assisted suicide, as it is known for being reliable and swift in its lethal effects.
Side Effects of Nembutal
As Nembutal falls into the barbiturate drug category, it is capable of producing a wide variety of side effects including all levels of CNS mood alteration from mild hypnosis to a deep coma. While in certain doses, the drug has an anesthesia effect, too much of the drug will produce death.
Common side effects include:
- Problems with memory or concentration,
- Loss of balance or coordination,
Serious side effects can include:
- Weak or shallow breathing,
- Slow heart rate,
- Weak pulse,
- Respiratory depression.
The dosage of Nembutal is determined by the patient’s age, weight, and condition. Nembutal may interact with other medications, including blood thinners, doxycycline, other seizure medications, MAO inhibitors, griseofulvin, birth control pills, hormone replacement estrogens, or steroids. The drug should not be used by someone who is pregnant or breast-feeding. As Nembutal may be habit-forming, the drug should not be stopped suddenly after long-term use, or severe withdrawal symptoms can occur.
Abuses of Nembutal
Pentobarbital products are classified as Schedule II Controlled Substances by the United States government and state governments. This classification means pentobarbital is among the most highly addictive drugs on the market today. The penalties for possessing or selling pentobarbital illegally are among the most severe in the legal system.
Nembutal is considered habit forming and an individual can develop psychological and physical dependence quickly. This dependence is often the result of increases in dosage or decreases in dosage intervals without consulting a physician. A person who develops a dependence on Nembutal can easily display signs very similar to those of an individual dealing with chronic alcoholism. When acute intoxication is present, a person will display physical symptoms including unsteady gait, slurred speech, and involuntary eye movements. Mental signs of chronic intoxication include confusion, poor judgment, irritability, insomnia, and other sleeping issues.
Withdrawal of Nembutal
If a person has developed a dependence on or a tolerance for Nembutal, the symptoms of withdrawal can be severe and can lead to death if medical attention is not available. The first minor withdrawal symptoms can appear eight to 12 hours after the last dose of the drug. Major symptoms are likely to appear within 16 hours and can last up to five days. Intensity of detox symptoms is known to gradually decline over a period of roughly 15 days.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with cessation of Nembutal can include, but are not limited to:
- Muscle twitching
- Tremor of hands and fingers
- Progressive weakness
- Distortion of visual perception
- Orthostatic hypertension
Treatment of Nembutal Addiction
Given the fact that a Nembutal addiction can put a person’s life at risk and the danger of the associated withdrawal symptoms, the individual should immediately seek professional help. The treatment of Nembutal addiction can vary depending upon the patient and the level of addiction. The first step is for a patient to be evaluated by a physician and a psychiatrist to determine the proper method for treatment. Detoxification is necessary, and the doctor may recommend 24/7 treatment.
Nembutal addicts are also likely to work on their relationship with sleep as part of their treatment. They can be taught how to use specific tools like yoga, meditation and exercise as well as diet and nutrition, changing caffeine intake, creating new patterns and counseling to determine the cause for taking Nembutal in the first place.