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Birth control pills may not work properly when taken while barbiturates are being taken. To prevent pregnancy, use additional or additional methods of birth control while taking barbiturates.

Barbiturates may also interact with other medicines. When this happens, the effects of one or both of the drugs may change or the risk of side effects may be greater. Anyone who takes barbiturates should let the physician know all other medicines he or she is taking. Among the drugs that may interact with barbiturates are:

  • Other central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as medicine for allergies, colds, hay fever, and asthma; sedatives; tranquilizers; prescription pain medicine; muscle relaxants; medicine for seizures; sleep aids; barbiturates; and anesthetics.
  • Blood thinners.
  • Adrenocorticoids (cortisone-like medicines).
  • Antiseizure medicines such as valproic acid (Depakote and Depakene), and carbamazepine (Tegretol).

The list above does not include every drug that may interact with barbiturates. Be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist before combining barbiturates with any other prescription or nonprescription (over-thecounter) medicine.



Klaassen, Curtis D. Casarett and Doull's Toxicology 6th ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2001.

Miller, Norman S. "Sedative-Hypnotics: pharmacology and use." Journal of Family Practice. 29 (December 1989):665.

O'Neil, Maryadele J. Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, & Biologicals. 13th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., 2001.


Kiefer, D.M. "Chemistry Chronicles: Miracle Medicines." Today's Chemist 10, no. 6 (June 2001): 59-60.

Nancy Ross-Flanigan


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Adrenal glands

—Two glands located next to the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine and the corticosteroid (cortisone-like) hormones.


—A condition in which the level of hemoglobin falls below normal values due to a shortage of mature red blood cells. Common symptoms include pallor, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Central nervous system

—The brain and spinal cord components of the nervous system that control the activities of internal organs, movements, perceptions, thoughts, and emotions.


—A sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind. A person can experience a hallucination in any of the five senses. Hallucinations usually result from drugs or mental disorders.


—A medicine that causes sleep.


—A disorder in which porphyrins build up in the blood and urine.


—A type of pigment found in living things, such as chlorophyll which makes plants green and hemoglobin which makes blood red.


—Medicine that has a calming effect and may be used to treat nervousness or restlessness.


—A sudden attack, spasm, or convulsion.

Withdrawal symptoms

—A group of physical or mental symptoms that may occur when a person suddenly stops using a drug to which he or she has become dependent.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ballistic galvanometer to Big–bang theoryBarbiturates - Recommended Dosage, Precautions, Side Effects, Interactions - Description, Special conditions, Allergies, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Other medical conditions, Use of certain medicines