Phenobarbital for Epilepsy
Phenobarbital is available in liquid, capsule, and tablet forms.
Primidone is a drug that the body converts into phenobarbital.
How It Works
Phenobarbital is a barbiturate, which acts as a sedative or depressant.
Why It Is Used
Phenobarbital is the antiepileptic drug of choice for newborns who have epilepsy.
How Well It Works
Phenobarbital is often effective in controlling partial and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.1
Phenobarbital often makes children and older people:
Phenobarbital has the opposite effect on young and middle-aged adults, who may feel:
Phenobarbital can alter your mood, behavior, thought processes, and ability to learn or remember things. These effects may be worse in older people.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on antiepileptic medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take antiepileptic medicine should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take antiepileptic medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments by you and your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few side effects as possible. After you and your doctor figure out the medicine program that works best for you, make sure to follow your program exactly as prescribed.
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