Phenobarbital overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of phenobarbital.

Poisonous Ingredient 

Where Found 

  • Phenobarbital  
  • Luminal  
  • Solfoton  
  • Barbita  
  • Comizial  
  • Fenilcal  
  • Gardenale

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Respiratory       o Breathing slowed or stopped       o Problems breathing  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Weak pulse       o Low Blood pressure  
  • Skin       o Blisters  
  • Nervous system       o headache       o Slurred speech       o Unsteady gait       o Confusion       o Delirium       o Coma       o Excitement       o Deep sleep

Home Treatment 
Call Poison Control.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine 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

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Administer activated charcoal.  
  • Administer a laxative.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Monitor blood levels and blood chemistries.  
  • Give treatment to increase excretion of the drug from the body.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 

The prognosis (probable outcome) depends on the symptoms observed by the health care provider.


  • The patient can be aroused.  
  • No further treatment will probably be necessary, but the patient will be monitored in the hospital.


  • The patient cannot be aroused.  
  • Breathing is normal.  
  • Other life signs (pulse, skin color, and so on) are normal.  
  • Recovery will probably occur within 24 to 48 hours with proper care.


  • The patient cannot be aroused.  
  • Breathing and other life signs may be abnormal.  
  • Recovery will probably occur within 3 to 5 days, depending on the amount swallowed.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.