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Also indexed as: Aluratec, Amobarbital, Amylbarbitone, Amytal, Aprobarbital, Brevital, Busodium, Butabarbital, Butisol, Mebaral, Mephobarbital, Metharbital, Methohexital, Nembutal, Pentobarbital, Pentothal, Pentothal, Phenobarbitone, Quinalbarbitone, Secobarbital, Seconal, Sodium Pentothal, Talbutal, Thiamylal, Thiopental


Barbiturates are a family of drugs that depress nerve activity in the brain, which produces changes in mental activity ranging from mild sedation and sleep, to deep coma. They are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizure disorders, and migraine headaches. In addition, some barbiturates are used in surgery as general anesthetics.

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, and Foods
In some cases, an herb or supplement may appear in more than one category, which may seem contradictory. For clarification, read the full article for details about the summarized interactions.

Avoid Avoid: Adverse interaction—Avoid these supplements when taking this medication because taking them together may cause undesirable or dangerous results.


Depletion or interference

None known

Side effect reduction/prevention

None known

Supportive interaction

None known

Reduced drug absorption/bioavailability

None known

Interactions common to many, if not all, Barbiturates are described in this article. Interactions reported for only one or several drugs in this class may not be listed in this article. Some drugs listed in this article are linked to articles specific to that respective drug; please refer to those individual drug articles. The information in this article may not necessarily apply to drugs in this class for which no separate article exists. If you are taking a Barbiturate for which no separate article exists, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

An asterisk (*) next to an item in the summary indicates that the interaction is supported only by weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Interactions involving barbiturates in general are described on this page. For interactions involving a specific barbiturate, refer to the highlighted drugs listed below.

  • Amobarbital (Amytal®)
  • Aprobarbital (Alurate®)
  • Butabarbital (Butisol®)
  • Butalbital (Fiorinal®, Fioricet®)
  • Mephobarbital (Mebaral®)
  • Methohexital (Brevital®)
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal®)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal®)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal®)
  • Thiopental (Pentothal®)

Interactions with Foods and Other Compounds

Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking barbiturates increases side effects, such as drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness;1 if taken in excess, this combination may result in death. Consequently, people taking barbiturates should avoid drinking alcohol.


1. Olin BR, ed. Central Nervous System Drugs, Sedatives and Hypnotics, Barbiturates. In Facts and Comparisons Drug Information. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons, 1993, 1398–413.

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