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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Solfoton

Generic Name: phenobarbital (Pronunciation: FEE noe BAR bi tal)

What is phenobarbital (Solfoton)?

Phenobarbital is in a group of drugs called barbiturates (bar-BIT-chur-ates). Phenobarbital slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.

Phenobarbital is used to treat or prevent seizures. It is also used short-term to treat insomnia, or as a sedative before surgery.

Phenobarbital may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Phenobarbital 100 mg-EXC

round, white, imprinted with EP 903

Phenobarbital 100 mg-RAN

round, white, imprinted with RX 744

Phenobarbital 16.2 mg-QUA

round, white, imprinted with 5011 V

Phenobarbital 30 mg-GG

round, white, imprinted with West-Ward 450

Phenobarbital 60 mg-EXC

round, white, imprinted with EP 902

Phenobarbital 60 mg-LIL

round, white, imprinted with LILLY J37

Phenobarbital 97.2 mg-QUA

elliptical, white, imprinted with 5014 V

What are the possible side effects of phenobarbital (Solfoton)?

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
  • slow heartbeat, shallow breathing;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • a fever or a sore throat;
  • sores in your mouth;
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • broken blood vessels under your skin.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness or dizziness;
  • problems with memory or concentration;
  • excitement, irritability, aggression, or confusion (especially in children or older adults);
  • loss of balance or coordination;
  • nausea, constipation;
  • headache; or
  • "hangover" effect (drowsiness the day after a dose).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about phenobarbital (Solfoton)?

Phenobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking phenobarbital.

Do not stop using phenobarbital without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may have increased seizures if you stop using phenobarbital suddenly. You will need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, or making phone calls and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking phenobarbital and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Phenobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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