Phenobarbital is a medicine used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, and insomnia. Phenobarbital overdose occurs when someone takes too much of this medicine.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength if known)
The time it was swallowed
The amount swallowed
If the medication was prescribed for the patient
However, DO NOT delay calling for help if this information is not immediately available.
Poison Control, or a local emergency number
In the United States, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Take the pill container with you to the hospital, if possible.
What to expect at the emergency room
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Blood tests will be done to check the phenobarbital level.
Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:
Medicine (sodium bicarbonate) that helps remove phenobarbital from the body
This list may not be all-inclusive.
How well the patient does depends on the severity of the overdose and how quickly treatment is received.
Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 9th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2011.
Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.