The doctor cannot give appropriate treatment for barbiturate abuse over the
telephone. Observation at a hospital emergency department is necessary.
If you believe someone has taken barbiturates inappropriately, take him or her
to a hospital emergency department for evaluation by a doctor. Soon after taking
barbiturates, a person may only be drowsy or seem intoxicated, but more serious
symptoms can develop quickly and unpredictably.
If the person is drowsy or you are unable to arouse the person (if he or she
seems to be in a coma), call 911 for emergency medical transport and immediate
treatment in the ambulance.
Bring any leftover pills, pill bottles, or other
medicines the person may have taken to the hospital with you.
There is no home treatment for barbiturate abuse. If you believe someone has
taken barbiturates inappropriately, take him or her to the hospital for
evaluation by a doctor.
Barbiturates have a narrow therapeutic index and can cause coma or death if
taken inappropriately. This is especially true in children and in elderly
Because children are smaller and
weight less than adults, even small doses of barbiturates could be life
Elderly people can be more sensitive to barbiturates and develop a coma with
Although rare, anyone who is addicted to barbiturates requires prolonged therapy
to avoid the dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. Addicted individuals are treated
with decreasing doses of barbiturates (called detoxification) until they are
drug free. For more information, see
drug dependence and abuse.
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