Which medications in the drug class Barbiturates are used in the treatment of Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

Barbiturates

These agents have direct effects on the benzodiazepine ̶ GABA-A ̶ chloride receptor complex in enhancing chloride flux. Barbiturates may be useful in patients refractory to benzodiazepines. Respiratory depression is common at large doses. Ventilatory support may be required.

Phenobarbital

Phenobarbital has direct effects on the benzodiazepine-GABA-A-chloride receptor complex in enhancing chloride flux. It may be useful in patients refractory to benzodiazepines. The drug exhibits anticonvulsant properties in anesthetic doses. Because a barbiturate-induced respiratory depression may occur, especially after previous benzodiazepine therapy, early mechanical ventilation should be considered.

Pentobarbital (Nembutal)

Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate with sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant properties and can produce all levels of central nervous system mood alteration.


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