Phenobarbital belongs to the class of medications called barbiturates. It is used to treat insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and as a sedative to relieve the symptoms of anxiety or tension. It is also used for the control of certain types of seizures. It works by slowing down the brain and nervous system.
Phenobarbital is also used to reduce bilirubin levels in newborn babies. Bilirubin is a substance produced by the body and removed by the liver. Sometimes a newborn baby’s liver needs some time to start to work effectively.
How should I use this medication?
Adults (seizure prevention): The recommended adult dose of phenobarbital to prevent seizures ranges from 30 mg to 250 mg daily in a single dose or in divided doses. The maximum dose is 600 mg daily.
Children (seizure prevention): The recommended children’s dose ranges from 1 mg to 6 mg per kilogram daily, in a single dose or in divided doses.
Adults (treatment of insomnia/sedative): The recommended adult dose of phenobarbital for insomnia ranges from 100 mg to 200 mg taken at bedtime. The recommended adult dose as a sedative ranges from 30 mg to 90 mg daily in 2 or 3 divided doses.
Children (sedative): The recommended sedative dose for children is 2 mg per kilogram of body weight, taken 3 times daily.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here,do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.