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Pentobarbital - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 13-Jan-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Brain and Spine
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3388 Questions
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :  
How can i help you?
User :   I need to know about the effects of overdose regarding pentobarbital
Doctor :   ok

User :   A person I know ingested pentobarbital orally
Doctor :  
User :   he is 19, 162 pounds, and lives in UK.
Doctor :  
User :   He survived, which I am thankful
User :   He was undergoing clinical depression and refused counseling
Doctor :  
User :   he doesnt want to confide in me regarding what happened after he ingested
Doctor :  
User :   But I wish to know so I can better understand why he chose to overdose on this substance
User :   I am also doing a study on pentobarbital as well, I am a college student
User :   What is this substance and what does it do?
Doctor :   pentobarbital is a drug belong to barbiturate group
Doctor :  
it causes reduction in the electrical activity of the brain
Doctor :   the effect as a lay man you see is sedation and hypnosis
User :   I was telling a previous doctor on this chat room that it is used for something called "euthanasia" in oregon and washington
Doctor :   i shall not comment or talk on euthanasia
Doctor :  
doctors are there to save life
User :   I understand
User :   So my friend was trying to shut down his brain?
User :   Wouldn't he just fall asleep and wake back up?
Doctor :   he basically was trying to kill himself by using this medication
Doctor :  
and the death if at all occurs is by respiratory failure
Doctor :  
fortunately the drug has high safety index
Doctor :  
Doctor :  
the amount of drug to cause coma
Doctor :  
to the amount of drug required to stop breathing has very huge difference
Doctor :  
so only he was able to save
Doctor :  
*be saved by the doctors
Doctor :   to simplify
Doctor :  
the drug has dose dependent effect
Doctor :  
it goes like this
Doctor :  
first you will be drowsy, than sleep, than coma, than deep coma and than respiratory arrest and death
User :   if he went into a coma, and nobody found him, what would have happened?
User :   what is a coma by the way, doctor?
Doctor :   if the amount of drug ingested is not sufficient to cause respiratory arrest over a period of time he will recover
Doctor :   coma is deep sleep where you cannot be aroused
User :   i see. So he could have potentially gone into a coma, and still have woken up?
User :   without medical intervention?
User :   He has epilepsy, if that makes any difference.
Doctor :   again it depends on the dosage of medication taken
User :   oh
Doctor :   if he is epileptic than he require more dosage of drug to produce the same effect in the non epileptic person
User :   I haven't been able to speak to him. But I am worried that wont be the same person. Does overdose on pentobarbital potentially cause brain damage?
Doctor :   nope
User :   what is the recommended dosage for a person? I am guessing this drug is used in anesthesia?
User :   thank you so much sir, for answering my questions.
Doctor :   the dosage is dependent on the epilepsy type he is suffering from
Doctor :  
and it varies from 15 mg to 100 mg
User :   He has partial-complex epilepsy
User :   he's only had one seizure in his life. and he takes Keppra XR
Doctor :  
it depends on the response to the initial treatment and other factors
Doctor :  
this is to prevent further episodes
Doctor :  
so exact dosage to any body can only be determined by the treating doctor
User :   i see. Wow. 100 mg is the max recommended dosage? and he ingested 12.6 grams of liquid pentobarbital solution!
Doctor :  
not like that it is the usually therapeutically used dose
User :   One docot on this chatroom said that a lethal dosage is 1 gram per 10 kilograms of body weight
User :   *doctor
User :   But i guess that is not always true.
User :   In this case that is
Doctor :   12.6 g is over dose only and it may be fatal in some and in some it may be non fatal
Doctor :   as i said the drug safety is index is high
Doctor :  
so it will allow sufficient time for the treatment and so the fatality is very less
User :   But if the fatality is very less, why do doctors use it on patients with terminal illnesses? They give them such a high dosage that death is certain? I know you do not wish to comment on euthanasia, but how do doctor determine what is the correct lethal dosage?
User :   huh? But I contacted several nurses at Oregon and they said pentobarbital and "secobarbital" were used
User :   according to the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
User :   I guess I must have incorrect info.
User :   Thank you for clarifying that information though
Doctor :   there are many drugs which can be misused
Doctor :   if phenobarbital is misused it can also cause death in any person
Doctor :  
as i said death can occur only at certain doses
User :   And each dose depends on the individual?
Doctor :   the exact dose info i cannot provide to you
Doctor :   yeah
User :   I understand
Doctor :   the dose also depends on the individual person
User :   Well, my last question regards deep coma.
Doctor :  
User :   What happens to an individual in deep coma?
User :   Can they still wake up naturally?
Doctor :  
person who is in deep coma invariability do suffer from some sort of brain injury and with out treatment they cannot wake up
Doctor :  
even after they come out of deep coma they might have some memory and cognitive difficulties through out their life
User :   My friend seems to be normal, so i guess he didnt go into a deep coma.
User :   Alright, thank you sir for your time.
User :   bye
Doctor :   thanks for consulting healthcare magic
Doctor :  
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