View Full Version : Is phenobarbital or Donnatal still used?


DesertDave
08-06-09, 01:06 AM
I'm seeing lots written about benzo's and SSRI/SNRIs.

My last p-doc prescribed Effexor. I didn't take it after I read about it. Looking here it seems that benzo's and SSRI/SNRIs are used a lot.

My p-doc seems to dislike benzos but favors SSRI/SNRIs.

After thinking about my appt with her, I recall many years ago as a kid going thru a stressful time and being prescribed Donnatal. It worked.

Is that kind of stuff still prescribed?

From what I've read, there were fewer side effects with it, and apparently some withdrawal. I recall tapering off of it over the course of a month (I think). But I remember no side effects or withdrawal.

What I read online says they quit using these in favor of benzo's because it was easier to OD on them.

Anyone have any info?

Thanks

ralphpenguin
08-06-09, 01:23 AM
I can't be sure, but a few years ago I had a coworker who suffered from some sort of partial seizures and I am pretty sure he took phenobarbital for it. I could be mistaken ..but I talked to him once and I think thats the name of the medication he mentioned. He also told me that they are very uncommon due to *safer* benzos which doctors prefer to script.

ralphpenguin
08-06-09, 01:24 AM
Ohh and remember Anna Nicole Smith..didn't she take chloral hydrate ? And I know they pulled that ages ago. Go figure.

DesertDave
08-06-09, 01:35 AM
Maybe she had a vintage stock of it. I have no idea. Maybe it's still used.

ralphpenguin
08-06-09, 01:43 AM
Maybe she had a vintage stock of it. I have no idea. Maybe it's still used.
I did a quick search pertaining to chloral hydrate...get this...they used it in enemas. Man when I read that I almost fell of my chair laughing. * Mental image of someone getting one and having a drowsy happy look on their face*. Oi...I need sleep :(

muldoon
08-06-09, 05:01 AM
It's a barbiturate that's mainly used by people with epilepsy. A guy I work with has grand mal seizures and said he was prescribed it many years ago but said the side effects were horrendous. He didn't specify what they were but he said he "wouldn't recommend it to anybody"...

I think Donnatal is still available but it's for intestinal disorders, not anxiety.

fxfake
08-19-09, 01:34 PM
Ohh and remember Anna Nicole Smith..didn't she take chloral hydrate ? And I know they pulled that ages ago. Go figure.

Chloral hydrate, unlike phenobarbital (and Donnatal, which is phenobarbital + belladonna alkaloids), is not a barbiturate. AFAIK chloral hydrate is rarely used (in humans), except when one needs to be sedated without messing with EEG readings. Translation: chloral hydrate won't stop seizures (I think).

Lunacie
08-19-09, 02:34 PM
My dad took phenobarbitol for years to prevent migraine headaches. Didn't really seem to help. I think it's not prescribed very often these days.

DesertDave
08-19-09, 03:32 PM
Having thought about it a little more, I think I've come up with what it was: Donnatal Extentabs.

That's a combination of phenobarbital, and atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine (Belladonna alkaloids). It chilled me out and stopped my stomach pain when I was a kid.

I had headaches as a kid and I don't specifically remember NOT having them when I took this. But maybe it was a standard thing to try back then.

Thanks all for your input.

Maurice
08-19-09, 04:18 PM
Yes, they do still prescribe phenobarbital. They generally prescribe it for epilepsy. I have known several people that have epilepsy and they were prescribed phenobarbital.

Sorry I have never heard of Donnatal.

Lunacie
08-19-09, 07:17 PM
Having thought about it a little more, I think I've come up with what it was: Donnatal Extentabs.

That's a combination of phenobarbital, and atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine (Belladonna alkaloids). It chilled me out and stopped my stomach pain when I was a kid.

I had headaches as a kid and I don't specifically remember NOT having them when I took this. But maybe it was a standard thing to try back then.

Thanks all for your input.

Interesting. Some migraines manifest as a stomach ache rather than a headache. Wonder if that's what the med was for?


Yes, they do still prescribe phenobarbital. They generally prescribe it for epilepsy. I have known several people that have epilepsy and they were prescribed phenobarbital.

Sorry I have never heard of Donnatal.

I learned recently that seizure disorder (epilepsy) is related to migraine disorder. Makes sense that they would use the same or similar meds to treat them.

edited: but of course they have come up with a whole lot of new meds to treat migraines these days. Unfortunately most of them are very expensive and I don't have health insurance. I take asprin, and occasionally excedrin to help my migraines.

fxfake
08-20-09, 12:10 PM
My dad took phenobarbitol for years to prevent migraine headaches. Didn't really seem to help. I think it's not prescribed very often these days.

From experience with a different barbiturate (butalbital in Fioricet/Fiorinal), I can say that the phenobarbital was probably "preventing" rebound headaches. After taking it a few times a week for ages, the withdrawal period for butalbital (t 1/2 of about 30-40 hours, lower than phenobarbital) was really long (a month or so, IIRC). The bad headaches lasted a few days, then the not-so-bad (didn't know they were rebound) headaches continued for a month or more.

I learned recently that seizure disorder (epilepsy) is related to migraine disorder. Makes sense that they would use the same or similar meds to treat them.
Hence Topamax.

edited: but of course they have come up with a whole lot of new meds to treat migraines these days. Unfortunately most of them are very expensive and I don't have health insurance. I take asprin, and occasionally excedrin to help my migraines.
Careful about rebound. Both APAP (acetaminophen, AKA paracetamol) and caffeine cause rebound headaches. Excedrin more than once or twice a week is in that danger-zone where you start treating the rebound headaches, not the underlying condition.

Lunacie
08-20-09, 02:52 PM
From experience with a different barbiturate (butalbital in Fioricet/Fiorinal), I can say that the phenobarbital was probably "preventing" rebound headaches. After taking it a few times a week for ages, the withdrawal period for butalbital (t 1/2 of about 30-40 hours, lower than phenobarbital) was really long (a month or so, IIRC). The bad headaches lasted a few days, then the not-so-bad (didn't know they were rebound) headaches continued for a month or more.


Hence Topamax.


Careful about rebound. Both APAP (acetaminophen, AKA paracetamol) and caffeine cause rebound headaches. Excedrin more than once or twice a week is in that danger-zone where you start treating the rebound headaches, not the underlying condition.

I'm aware of the dangers of rebound headache, also the dangers of high blood pressure caused by ibuprofen and tylenol. This is why I generally take plain old asprin. I've been searching for medical help for the migraines for more than 7 years - since my divorce was final and I lost my health insurance. I moved about that time as well, but the doctor I'd been seeing for years got himself killed because he was screwing around with his office nurse and his wife shot both of them. Still looking for a good doctor who is willing to treat chonric pain.

penguin
07-09-10, 11:15 PM
hi,
For migraine, Magnesium, B-2, and ButterBur. Taken seperately or in a combined capsule called Migra-ease. Will take 6-8 weeks to kick in.
The magnesium and B-2 have survived the double blind placebo test. Not sure on the butterbur.
Doc suggested this after I poisened my liver on excederine extra strength and other OTC's. Imitrex was a waste of time.
Took ten weeks but I will keep it for life. I get a migraine now maybe once every 2 - 3 months as opposed to twice a week.
And liver enzymes are back to normal.
oh, its been 3 years now.
Enjoy, Ken