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South Med J. 1992 Aug;85(8):803-7.

Acute phenobarbital intoxication.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa 35487-0378.


Phenobarbital is a long-acting barbiturate often prescribed for seizure disorders. It has a high abuse potential and was commonly used in suicide attempts in the past. Although benzodiazepines are now more frequently used in suicide attempts, barbiturate intoxications are still occasionally seen and constitute a medical emergency. The management of phenobarbital overdose includes cardiac and respiratory support, cathartics, activated charcoal, and alkaline diuresis. In severely compromised patients, hemodialysis and hemoperfusion can be used to enhance drug clearance.

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