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Barbiturates are a class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When taken as prescribed, barbiturates help people sleep or with symptoms of anxiety. However, abuse of these medications can have fatal consequences. Because barbiturates are highly addictive, they present large risk of abuse and overdose.

Barbiturates work by suppressing the central nervous system, slowing brain functions affecting parts of the body which control voluntary actions. With increased dosage, barbiturates affect a person’s automatic, unconscious functions, such as breathing and heart rate. It is in this way that barbiturate abuse and addiction is dangerous.

Barbiturates are listed by a generic name and marketed under different brand names. When sold for recreational use and abuse, the drugs have other names. Barbiturates are also available in combination with pain relievers.

Brand Names:

  • Allonal
  • Amytal Sodium
  • Brevital
  • Butabarb
  • Butalan
  • Buticaps
  • Butisol Sodium
  • Luminal
  • Mebaral
  • Mephyltaletten
  • Nembutal
  • Nembutal Sodium
  • Oramon
  • Pentothal
  • Phemiton
  • Prominal
  • Sarisol
  • Seconal
  • Somnifaine
  • Surital

Generic Names:

  • Amobarbital sodium
  • Aprobarbital
  • Butabarbital
  • Mephobarbital (methylophenobarbital)
  • Methohexital
  • Pentobarbital
  • Phenobarbital
  • Primidone
  • Secobarbital
  • Thiopental sodium
  • Thyamilal

Street Names:

  • Amobarbital: blue heavens, blue devils, blue velvet, downers
  • Pentobarbital: abbots, Mexican yellow, nembies, yellow jackets
  • Phenobarbital: goof balls, purple hearts
  • Secobarbital: F-40s, lily, pinks, pink ladies, red birds, red devils, reds, seggy
  • General street names: barbs, blockbusters, christmas trees, downers, phennies, sleepers

Ultra Short-Acting:

  • Brevital (Methohexital)
  • Pentothal (Thiopental sodium)
  • Surital (Thiamylal)

Short-Acting to Intermediate Acting:

  • Amytal (Amobarbital)
  • Alurate (Aprobarbital)
  • Butisol (Butobarbital)
  • Nembutal (Phenobarbital)
  • Seconal (Secobarbital)


  • Luminal (Phenobarbital)
  • Mebaral (Mephobarbital)
  • Prominal (Methylophenobarbital)

Combination Barbiturates:
Combinations of Butalbital (barbiturate) and Acetaminophen (pain reliever) are available in the following brand names:

  • Anolor 300
  • Bupap
  • Capacet
  • Cephadyn
  • Dolgic LQ
  • Esgic
  • Esgic-Plus
  • Ezol
  • Fioricet
  • Geone
  • Margesic
  • Orbivan CF
  • Phrenilin
  • Phrenilin Forte
  • Zebutal