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Why is this medication prescribed?

Butabarbital is used to treat insomnia on an interim basis (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). It is also used to reduce anxiety, particularly the kind that comes before surgery. Butabarbital belongs to the class of medicines known as barbiturates. It works by reducing mental activity.

How should this medicine be used?

Butabarbital is available as a tablet and a liquid solution for oral administration. Butabarbital is often given at bedtime as needed for sleep when it is used to treat insomnia. Butabarbital is typically taken 60 to 90 minutes prior to surgery in order to reduce anxiety. Butabarbital is often given three to four times per day to treat anxiety. If you regularly take butabarbital, take it at roughly the same time(s) each day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the butabarbital directions exactly.

After you begin taking butabarbital, your sleep issues should start to improve within 7 to 10 days. If your sleep issues do not improve during this period, if they worsen at any point while you are receiving therapy, or if you notice any changes in your thinking or behaviour, call your doctor.

Normally, butabarbital should only be used for brief periods of time. Butabarbital may not be as effective in promoting restful sleep or reducing anxiety if you take the medication for longer than two weeks. Long-term butabarbital use increases the risk of dependence (sometimes known as “addiction,” or the need to keep taking the drug) on butabarbital. If you plan to take butabarbital for more than two weeks, discuss the dangers with your doctor. Butabarbital should not be taken in excess of the dosage, more frequently, or for a longer period of time than recommended by your doctor.

Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking butabarbital. Your dose will likely be gradually reduced by your doctor. You might experience anxiety, muscle twitching, uncontrollable shaking of your hands or fingers, weakness, dizziness, changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, trouble falling or staying asleep, or more severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures or extreme confusion if you suddenly stop taking butabarbital.

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you’re interested in using this drug for any other conditions.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking butabarbital,

  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you have any allergies to butabarbital, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow food dye), other barbiturates such amobarbital (Amytal, in Tuinal), pentobarbital, phenobarbital, or secobarbital (Seconal), other barbiturates, or any other medications. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), antihistamines, doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin, Vibra-tabs), griseofulvin (Fulvicin-U/F, Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG), and other anticoagulants (sometimes known as “blood thinners”), hormone replacement therapy; monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors such phenelzine (Nardil), isocarboxazid (Marplan), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate); drugs for depression, pain, colds, or allergies; muscle relaxants; oral steroids such dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone; some seizure drugs including phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakene); sedatives; sleeping aids; and tranquillizers. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • If you have or have ever had porphyria, let your doctor know (condition in which certain natural substances build up in the body and may cause stomach pain, changes in thinking and behavior, and other symptoms). Most likely, your doctor will advise against taking butabarbital.
  • Inform your physician if you currently use or have previously used excessive amounts of street drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications. Tell your doctor if you have ever contemplated suicide or attempted it, as well as if you suffer from asthma or any other condition that makes breathing difficult or uncomfortable, have ever experienced depression or seizures, or have kidney or liver disease.
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking butabarbital. The foetus could be harmed by butabarbital.
  • You should be aware that butabarbital may lessen how well hormonal contraceptives work (birth control pills, patches, rings, injections, implants, or intrauterine devices). Consult your doctor about birth control options that will be effective for you while you are receiving butabarbital therapy. If you miss a period or suspect you could be pregnant while taking butabarbital, let your doctor know right away.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using this medicine with your doctor. Butabarbital is typically not advised for usage in older individuals because it is neither as safe nor as effective as alternative drugs that can be used to treat the same issue.
  • You should inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking butabarbital if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
  • You should be aware that taking this drug during the daytime may cause drowsiness, lower mental awareness, and increase your risk of falling. If you get out of bed in the middle of the night, take extra precautions to prevent falling. Prior to understanding how this drug affects you, avoid using machinery or driving a car.
  • Don’t consume alcohol when receiving butabarbital therapy. Butabarbital adverse effects can be exacerbated by alcohol.
  • You should be aware that some persons who took sleep aids got out of bed and did things like drive their cars, prepare and eat food, have sex, make phone calls, or perform other tasks while only partially awake. These people frequently had no memory of what they had done when they awoke. If you discover that you were operating a vehicle or performing any other activity while you were sleeping, call your doctor right once.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If butabarbital is a regular medication for you, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from butabarbital are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty Sleeping or remaining asleep
  • Nightmares
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Excitement
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms or those detailed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections:

  • Hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • Shallow, sluggish breathing
  • Fainting
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Edoema of the hands, feet, ankles, lower legs, cheeks, neck, tongue, lips, and eyes
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges
  • Hoarseness

Other negative effects of butabarbital are possible. If you have any strange side effects while taking this medicine, let your doctor know right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

Overdose symptoms could include:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Muddled speech
  • Irregular eye motions
  • Confusion
  • Faulty judgement
  • Irritability
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Faint, sluggish, or rapid breathing
  • Shortened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eye)
  • Less urinations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Coma (loss of consciousness for a periol of time)

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how you are responding to butabarbital, your doctor may request specific lab tests.

No one else should take your medication. The drug butabarbital is under control. Only a limited amount of refills are permitted for prescriptions; if you have any doubts, speak with your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Butabarb®
  • Butalan®
  • Buticaps®
  • Butisol® Sodium
  • Sarisol®
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