How Phenobarbital Helps 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.

Phenobarbital Mechanism of Action

Phenobarbital works by binding to GABA receptors, which are neurotransmitters that can reduce excitability in the brain as well as inhibit nerve transmission. Studies show that when GABA is released into the brain, it becomes involved in the effectiveness of electrical stimulation, which is one of the primary reasons it is used to help treat conditions such as epilepsy.

In relation to detox, this barbiturate can also be effective in benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal treatment, as it can help reduce the risk of seizures and also produce a sedative effect.

How Phenobarbital Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal

One of the advantages of the use of phenobarbital in 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. When combined with a benzodiazepine, this barbiturate may be useful in enhancing phenobarbital effects.

Side Effects of Using Phenobarbital During Alcohol Detox

While the inclusion of phenobarbital during one’s alcohol detox can pose more benefits than risks, it is important to remember that this this medication can also produce some side effects, some of which may include the following:

  • Extreme sedation, lethargy, fatigue, or drowsiness
  • Dizziness, headache, or confusion
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hyperthermia
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or stomach cramps

Additionally, 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.

Is Phenobarbital Safe?

Phenobarbital is a safe medication to use when it is taken as prescribed and under the supervision of a medical professional. In fact, phenobarbital has been used for over 100 years as an antiepileptic drug but has also proven effective in treating insomnia and apprehensiveness, and has been used in alcohol withdrawal for decades.

Medical Detox for Alcohol Addiction in Florida

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.

Searching for rehab for alcohol misuse of addiction does not have to be difficult. Do not waste one more moment. Get the process of recovery started by verifying your insurance via our secure and contacting us right now at .

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