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    Information about Phenobarbitone

    Phenobarbitone uses

    Phenobarbitone is used in epilepsy/seizures.

    How phenobarbitone works

    Phenobarbitone controls seizures or fits by increasing the action of GABA, a chemical messenger which suppresses the abnormal and excessive activity of the nerve cells in the brain.

    Common side effects of phenobarbitone

    Drowsiness, Nausea, Diarrhea, Hyperactivity, Depression, Confusion, Decreased blood pressure, Fatigue, Headache, Dizziness, Constipation, Excitement, Hangover
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Khushbu Goel
    DM, MD
    Last updated on:
    27 Dec 2019 | 01:08 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Phenobarbitone

    • Phenobarbitone helps in treatment and prevention of seizures.
    • It may be habit-forming with long-term use.
    • Talk with your doctor if it stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.
    • It may make you very sleepy. Don't drive or do anything that requires mental focus until you know how it affects you.
    • Inform your doctor if you notice pain in your joints or if you have a history of bone disease.
    • Get regular blood tests done to monitor the amount of medication in your body.
    • Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice skin rash accompanied with fever.
    • Do not stop taking the medication suddenly without talking to your doctor.

    Frequently asked questions for Phenobarbitone


    Q. What is Phenobarbitone used for?

    Phenobarbitone is prescribed to control seizures or fits. Phenobarbitone belongs to barbiturate group of medicines. In exceptional circumstances, it is also used to treat seizures that sometimes accompany a high fever in children.

    Q. What if I forget to take Phenobarbitone?

    If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, skip the forgotten dose and take the next dose. Do not double the dose to make up for the forgotten dose.

    Q. Can Phenobarbitone cause addiction?

    Yes, Phenobarbitone may cause addiction in patients with a history of alcoholism and drug abuse if they take it for a prolonged time. Therefore, Phenobarbitone should be avoided in such patients.

    Q. What are the long-term side effects of Phenobarbitone?

    Long-term use of phenobarbital can lead to changes in the soft tissues of the body. Symptoms include pain in the joints or thickening in areas such as the palm or the bottom of the foot. If you notice any changes of this kind, tell the doctor.

    Q. Can I stop taking Phenobarbitone once my seizures get controlled?

    No, you should not stop taking Phenobarbitone without consulting your doctor. Sudden withdrawal can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, tremor, dizziness, feeling sick, fits and delirium. The dose of Phenobarbitone should be reduced gradually.

    Q. What will happen if I accidentally take more than the recommended dose of Phenobarbitone?

    Swallowing more than the recommended doses may cause drowsiness, speech problems, jerky movements, jerky eye movements, loss of inhibition, reduced reflex response, low body temperature, low blood pressure and breathing problems. Contact your nearest hospital emergency services or your doctor immediately.

    Q. What are the effects of Phenobarbitone in children?

    Phenobarbitone is useful in treating many kinds of seizures in children. It is often considered as the first choice to treat certain kinds of seizures in newborns. The child taking Phenobarbitone treatment may develop problems with behavior and learning. Side effects are much more likely to be troublesome if high doses are given or if too high a dose is given at the beginning of the treatment. It may be necessary to increase the dose very slowly over several months.

    Q. Can I take folic acid with Phenobarbitone?

    Phenobarbitone causes folic acid deficiency which is responsible for certain types of anemia (megaloblastic anemia) in some patients. But if you take folic acid, then it may decrease the levels of Phenobarbitone in your body. This may lead to seizures. Therefore, folic acid should be avoided.

    Q. Can Phenobarbitone cause withdrawal symptoms?

    Yes, suddenly stopping Phenobarbitone can cause withdrawal symptoms which include sleeplessness, anxiety, tremor, dizziness, nausea, fits, and delirium.

    Q. Are there any tests available which check the levels of Phenobarbitone in the blood?

    Yes, laboratory tests are available. If you feel excessively sleepy and experience tremor or balance issues or double vision, inform your doctor and get the levels checked.

    Q. For how long do I need to take Phenobarbitone?

    You should take Phenobarbitone for the duration advised by your doctor. This drug has a habit-forming effect, therefore, its long-term use is not recommended.

    Content on this page was last updated on 27 December, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)