How does Butobarbital work?
Butobarbital belongs to a group of medicines called barbiturates.
Barbiturates work by enhancing the action of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural ‘nerve-calming’ agent. It helps keep the nerve activity in the brain in balance, and is involved in inducing sleepiness, reducing anxiety and relaxing muscles.
Butobarbital (BAN), also called butobarbitone or butethal, Soneryl, and Neonal,is a hypnotic drug which is a barbiturate derivative.
Butobarbital increases the activity of GABA in the brain, thereby increasing its calming effect and resulting in sleepiness.
Butobarbital remains active in the body for many hours and so may cause sleepiness that continues into the next day.
Butobarbital is used in the treatment of severe sleeping difficulties (insomnia). It is only prescribed to people who are already taking barbiturate medicines and will not be started in new patients. This is because it has a high potential for dependence and addiction and has more side effects and interactions with other medicines than other treatments for insomnia. It is also more dangerous if an overdose is taken.
Butobarbital should be used with caution by
People with depression.
People with liver disease.
People with decreased kidney function.
People with decreased function of the adrenal glands (hypoadrenal function).
People with reduced blood flow to vital internal organs (shock).
People with slow, shallow breathing (respiratory depression).