Barbiturates (Seconal, Nembutal, Tuinal)

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User offline. Last seen 4 years 47 weeks ago. Offline

Does anyone know how many barbiturate drugs (Namely Seconal, Nembutal, Tuinal and Amytal) are prescribed anymore, and if so, still only as hypnotics? Do pharmacies even stock them? I know many docs write for Ambien, Lunesta & meds of that ilk all the time, but what about barbs? I searched high and low and found only one company (Ranbaxy) that manufactures Seconal and Tuinal capsules. I understand that they fell out of favor in the 1970's with the introduction of benzodiazepines like Valium & Librium, but I didn't even know they were still being produced. I rarely, rarely hear about them, and several pharmacies I've called to inquire about them seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. I've heard stories from people alive "back them" (late 60's/early 70's) who almost universally wax eloquent on the ability of them to induce sleep, but did the fact that at the same time many overdosed on them by taking too many cause them to fall out of favor? If so, why didn't the FDA just take them off the market, like they did with Quaalude? Being an insomniac almost all my life who has tried pretty much every sleeping pill known to man, I've always been fascinated with the mythology of them and figured here was as good a place to ask as any, especially since I keep forgetting to ask my doctor about them when I see him.

User offline. Last seen 4 years 47 weeks ago. Offline
Incorrect link above

Sorry about the incorrect link to Ranbaxy's generic products site in the last post - delete the last period from the site address, or just go here:




User offline. Last seen 8 years 9 weeks ago. Offline
I am suprised that they

I am suprised that they are still manufactured as I have never heard of ANYONE GETTING A prescription for any of these.

Dr Lois do you or any MDs you know still utilize these meds?

User offline. Last seen 3 years 24 weeks ago. Offline
I took Nembutal quite a bit

I took Nembutal quite a bit in the early 70s, when I had a series of five surgeries on my leg. Normal discharge prescriptions for me at that time was Percodan and Nembutal. I think a lot of docs at that time were trying to get patients to try Dalmane, which was introduced about 1970, as a non-narcotic sleeping pill. There was also a period when Quaaludes were written in the mid-70s.

I haven't heard of anyone prescribing them for a long time. I take Ambien now and along with my Methadone and Klonopin, it's quite effective.

Dr. Lois
User offline. Last seen 7 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Benzodiazapines are a lot

Benzodiazapines are a lot safer than barbiturates in general.  Especially when combined with alcohol and narcotic, barbituates at relatively low doses can cause fatal respiratory depression.  It would really be a challenge to kill yourself with benzodiazapines.  

Barbiturates are still available and used in anesthesia (ie. Thiopental).  Seconol (Secobarbitol) is available orally for sleep and anxiety.  Nembutol (Pentobarbitol) is available IV or IM, and used for sleep, anxiety and seizure disorders.  I don't know if it is available orally any longer, but I recall that it used to be.  Butalbitol (Fiorinol, Fioricet) is used frequently for tension-type headache.  Mebaral (mephobarbitol) is used as a sedative and anticonvulsant.  Phenobarbitol is also used for sleep and seizure disorders. 

Barbituates are also used in the hospital for people with increased intracranial pressure.  There are no good controlled studies supporting barbiturates for tension headaches or increased intracranial pressure.

This is not a comprehensive list of available barbiturates and their uses.  The only one commonly prescribed in the primary care office is Butalbitol for tension headache.  Occasionally a seizure patient will be on phenobarbitol.  I have seen seconol and nembutol used rarely for sleep. 

User offline. Last seen 8 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
In addition to what Dr Lois

In addition to what Dr Lois stated regarding barbs, I have also see phenobarbitol used frequently during inpatient psychotherapy appts to help patients with selective amenesia disorders and various other mental illnesses be calm and to help them participate in their treatment. It is oftentimes used to help people "open up" to their doctor during this type of therapy.

all thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical advice. i am not a doctor nor a pharmacist. all medical questions should be answered by a licensed pharmacist, doctor, or primary care manager.
User offline. Last seen 8 years 21 weeks ago. Offline
if you ever find a doctor

that would write for tuinal, I would jump for joy. They actually work for sleep, and don't cause you to hallucinate like those #%^*! ambien do!

User offline. Last seen 5 years 46 weeks ago. Offline

is rarely used, it was the drug of choice by mobsters for slipping people mickeys to kidnap or shanghi them,


str8tupdude rip
User offline. Last seen 8 years 3 weeks ago. Offline

Barbs are rarely if at all prescribed anymore.  There are much more effective and safer drugs (benzos) that we use now.  I personally have never known anyone to have been prescribed these.   Well, one exception.  My aunt had a cocker spaniel that had sezuires and he was prescribed phenobarbital for them.  I think that is proabably the most popular one.  The others just aren't used anymore....Ray

User offline. Last seen 6 years 8 weeks ago. Offline
I was prescribed.............................

Seconal from about 1969 to 1973 then my doctor rx'ed me Placidyl  for years. Now Placidyl really helped for sleep and I stayed on them till 1978 then was rx'ed Quaalude till 1983 when they stopped making them. We called them Disco Biscuits and I won't lie I loved them and abused them. I'm glad they are gone. I'm an old man now 30 mg Restoril every now and then is about all I need for sleep.

User offline. Last seen 7 years 48 weeks ago. Offline
Barbituates available in 2009

to "Quiescentlyhot" and especially, HCondKROD,

  All of the above threads are quite descriptive on the subject: this is all I can add to the above posters:

Source: Martindale Extra Pharmacopoeia a/k/a Martindale Complete Drug Reference 36th edition, (2009)

published by the Pharmaceutical Press on authority of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

London, England ISBN # 978 0 85369 840 1  "Over 6,000 pages of in-depth coverage of all ethical pharmaceuticals in forty countries mostly in the industrialized world, a 15 pound 2 volume set published every other year. 

These are the only barbituates still available in forty countries............................

Butibel,  Phenazopyridine Plus, Urelief Plus  (all USA) Wallace Pharma, Breckenridge Pharma, Cyprus Pharma. "Butibel" is Secbutabarbital,  whereas the other two are combination meds.

Butisol (discontinued in the USA).......Butobarbital (C-III) still available in U.K. as "Soneryl"

Seconal Sodium ......"Seconal 100 mg." by Marathon Pharmaceuticals (USA) and "Seconal 100 mg." by Flynn Pharma of Ireland, available only in the United Kingdom.

Amobarbital Sodium.... Amytal (U.K) Repasma (South Africa) Ama (Thailand) Amytal is not listed in the 2009 USA PDR, thus may be a "orphan drug" made by a generic mfg. (unaudited).  "Amytal  Sodium" are no longer manufactured by Eli Lilly in tabs or capsules. Flynn Pharma exports the product only to the United Kingdom.

Seconal Sodium + Amobarbital Sodium...."Tuinal" by Marathon Pharmaceuticals 100 mg. (USA) and as "Tuinal" 100 mg. by Flynn Pharma of Ireland, exported to United Kingdom.

Nembutal (discontinued in capsules) only available as I.M. or I.V. solution (USA) "Meburmal" in Denmark, and "Sopental" in South Africa. "Dimaval" in Argentina as a "multi-ingredinet" formulation. (Argentina).

Phenobarbital is available in 28 countries, often, listed as a "anti-seizure med" category. Also is available as a "multi-ingredient in 25 countries"

The substitute Immediate Release Sedatives to compete with the well established Barbituates.....have been "gradually discontinued worldwide" Placidyl (only available in USA discontinued in 1999) Doriden, was discontinued by William H Rorer in 1993. Doriden (Glutethimide), was available in Romania and Hungary as recently as 2006, but was discontinued that year in both countries, formerly known as Tardyl in Hungary, and Glutimide in Romania by Terapia Pharmaceuticals. Although it was widely believed because Methaqualone was banned in the United States in 1984, "Quaalude"  and Lemmon Pharmaceutical's chief competitor, Roussel of France, withdrawn their methaqualone " Mandrax" from the UK, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa. It remained to be produced legally in Germany until 1992, as well as Spain, known as "Pallidan" by Berna Pharma until 2001, and the last country to legal sell Methaqualone was Switzerland, who only withdrew their version of Methaqualone "Toquilone Compositum" manufactured by MedChemie of Switzerland, and Cyprus in late 2006/early 2007.  

Note: the Martindale , first published in 1883, still does not list ethical pharmaceuticals in many "third world countries, such as Central America, (Belize, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, parts of S.America (like Colombia, Guyana, and several others, notably, Paraguay, Uruguay, hostile countries in the Middle East, all of Africa, with the exception of South Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and parts of the former U.S.S.R.

HCandKROD...we are apparently are of the same generation.......the strongest sedative I have been taking the past ten years is simply Sanofi Ambien, now, generic 10 mg Zolpidem, kindergarden hypnotics compared to what we were exposed to during the "Woodstock" generaton, and the follow-up "Disco Era" of the 1970's.........................I guess we are lucky to have survived...and to still be around. Several of my friends didn't make it, as maybe several of yours may not have survived it....and both of us have lost beloved entertainers, who expired long before their time, due to health complications, that the "then available meds" were not in their favor.   Still, I occasionally miss the escape from extreme stress that some of the extinct meds offered, the escape from intense insomnia and the temporary lift from short term depression.