• Barbiturate Pills
  • Barbiturate Pills
Barbiturate Tablets and Capsules


  • Synonyms for Barbiturates in General:
    Sleeping Pills
  • Street Names for Barbiturates in General:
    Barbs, Downers
  • Synonyms, Drug Classes, Brand Names, and Street Names for Individual Barbiturates:
    See table below.
  • Drug Testing:
    BAR One Step Barbiturates Drug Test
  • Summary:

    The barbiturates are central nervous system (CNS) depressants derived from barbituric acid. They were once commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia and were often referred to as sleeping pills. Barbiturates are commonly divided into groups based on the onset and duration of their action. The intermediate and short-acting barbiturates are the categories most commonly misused, most notably secobarbital (Seconal). Long-acting barbiturates have an onset of action of 30 to 60 minutes and a duration of action of 6 to 8 hours. Examples of long-acting barbiturates are phenobarbital (Luminal) and barbital. Their slow onset of action discourages their misuse. The intermediate-acting barbiturates have an onset of action of 15 to 30 minutes and a duration of action of 4 to 6 hours. Examples of intermediate-acting barbiturates are amobarbital (Amytal) and butabarbital (Butisol). The short-acting barbiturates have an onset of action of 10 to 15 minutes and have a duration of action of 2 to 4 hours. Examples of short-acting barbiturates are secobarbital and pentobarbital (Nembutal). The ultra-short-acting barbiturates have an onset of action of 0 to 45 seconds and a duration of action of 15 minutes to 3 hours. These are barbiturates used as anesthetics. Their effects are generally felt within one minute of intravenous administration. Examples of ultra short-acting barbiturates are thiopenthal sodium, hexobarbital, and methohexital. The rapid onset and brief duration of action practically precludes the use of ultra-short-acting barbiturates in the street environment. Concern about the addiction potential of barbiturates and the ever-increasing numbers of fatalities associated with them led to the development of alternative medications. With the discovery of a relatively safer alternative, the benzodiazepines, the medicinal use of barbiturates for treating anxiety and insomnia has been greatly reduced since the 1970s. Nevertheless, phenobarbital is still widely used as an anticonvulsant to control epilepsy; and other barbiturates are used to induce and maintain surgical anesthesia and occasionally treat depression.

  • Excretion:

    Excretion patterns differ greatly among the barbiturates. In general, short-acting barbiturates are excreted in the urine as metabolites, while long-acting barbiturates primarily appear unchanged.

Barbiturates (Synonyms) Drug Class Brand Names Street Names
Alphenal (Phenallymal) CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic - -
Amobarbital (Amylobarbital) Anticonvulsant, CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Amytal Blue Heavens
Aprobarbital CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic - -
Butabarbital (Secbutabarbital) CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Butisol Bute, Stoppers
Butalbital CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Allzital, Butapap, Fioricet, Fiorinal, Lanorinal -
Butethal (Butobarbital) CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic - -
Cyclopentobarbital Anticonvulsant, Sedative-Hypnotic - -
Pentobarbital Anticonvulsant, CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Nembutal Nembies, Yellow Jackets
Phenobarbital Anticonvulsant, Antihyperbilirubinemic, CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Luminal Phennies
Secobarbital Anticonvulsant, CNS Depressant, Sedative-Hypnotic Seconal Red Birds, Red Devils, Reds, Seggies


  1. Barbiturates. HealthCentral. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://www.healthcentral.com/mhc/top/001810.cfm
  2. Barbiturates (Systemic). WebMD. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/3185.192
  3. Beyond the ABC's Information for Professionals — Tranquilizers and Sleeping Pills. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://www.nadc.gov.ab.ca/aadac/addictions/beyond/beyond_tranquillizers_sleepingpills.htm
  4. Criminal Justice Home Page. Lincoln Land Community College. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://www.llcc.cc.il.us/justice/drugs/drugsclass.html
  5. Drug Information — Barbiturates. The Centre for Recovery. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/town/terrace/gjl37/druginfo/barbs.html
  6. Drug Photos from the IPRC Website. Indiana Prevention Resource Center. 07 Sept. 2001. Retrieved from: http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/prevention/iprcpics.html