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Pentobarbital overdose

Pentobarbital is sedative, which is a medicine that makes you sleepy. Pentobarbital overdose occurs when a person intentionally or accidentally takes too much of the medicine.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or a local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Alternative Names

Nembutal overdose; Pentosol overdose; Sopental overdose; Repocal overdose

Poisonous Ingredient

Pentobarbital

Where Found

Pentobarbital is the generic name for the following medicines:

  • Nembutal
  • Pentosol
  • Repocal
  • Sopental

Symptoms

  • Heart and blood vessels:
    • Heart failure
    • Low blood pressure
    • Weak pulse
  • Kidneys and bladder
  • Lungs
  • Nervous system
  • Skin
    • Large blisters
    • Rash

Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.

Before Calling Emergency

Get the following information:

  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

However, DO NOT delay calling for help if this information is not immediately available.

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

In the United States, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center . This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Laxative
  • Tube through the mouth or nose into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage )

In severe cases, a breathing machine may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. You could recover in 1 to 5 days with proper treatment.

References

Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006.

Updated: 1/29/2013

Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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