Does Phenobarbital Help With Alcohol Withdrawal?
Phenobarbital is a medication that can be used in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. It can be a helpful addition to one’s care during this phase of recovery if prescribed and administered by a medical professional.
This article will go into more detail about what phenobarbital is, how it helps with alcohol withdrawal, and what you can do to get yourself or a loved one help for alcohol addiction.
What is Phenobarbital?
Phenobarbital is a barbiturate that can help reduce symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. This medication can help control seizures, reduce anxiety in certain conditions, and serve as a muscle relaxant. Barbiturates like phenobarbital were commonly used medications that helped to control the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal prior to benzodiazepines (such as diazepam and lorazepam) being developed. Today, phenobarbital still possesses medical benefit for those detoxing from alcohol.
Why Phenobarbital Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal
One of the advantages of the use of phenobarbital for alcohol withdrawal is that it has a longer half-life than benzodiazepines, so it remains active in the system longer. Since the onset of seizures during withdrawal can be unpredictable, this aspect can be advantageous. This means that the drug could be used less frequently than many benzodiazepines that are used to control alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Using a drug less frequently would also decrease the risk of an individual developing misuse issues with that drug. Phenobarbital may be also useful when combined with a benzodiazepine because it can enhance its effects.
Side Effects of Using Phenobarbital to Help With Alcohol Detox
There is no medication that comes without potential for side effects, and phenobarbital is no different. The use of this medication can produce a number of side effects, some of which may include the following:
- Extreme sedation, lethargy, fatigue, or drowsiness
- Dizziness, headache, or confusion
- Respiratory depression
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or stomach cramps
In addition, one side effect of using phenobarbital can include paradoxical effects, such as jitteriness, irritability, etc., however those effects are more likely to occur in children.
Medical Detox Options for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder and needs help, reach out to our inpatient alcohol rehab in Tampa. We can connect you to one of our helpful rehab admissions navigators who can help answer all of your questions, including those about what to expect from our alcohol rehab, payment options for addiction treatment and using health insurance to pay for rehab.
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