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Created Apr 2019 | Updated Oct 2020




DEA CODE 2126: Schedule 3

AMOBARBITAL is a barbiturate derivative with hypnotic and sedative properties. Adverse effects are mainly a consequence of dose-related CNS depression and the risk of dependence with continued use is high.

Amobarbital is best used for initiating sleep and as a very short-term solution for insomnia. After two weeks of use, the drug becomes less effective in treating insomnia unless the dosage is increased substantially and at regular intervals. This can result in the development of a potentially dangerous situation; therefore, it is suggested that the drug only be used on a short-term basis for sleep problems and that individuals develop other strategies to help them sleep.

There are various off-label uses for amobarbital. For example, it is one of many drugs that has been labeled as a truth serum; it has also been used to get people with mental health disorders who are mute to speak. Drugs used as truth serums are not used for legal purposes. The confessions or testimonies of people under the effects of these drugs are not considered to be legally admissible evidence in court under most circumstances because their self-reports may be unreliable.

The Wada test, or the intracarotid sodium amobarbital procedure, is used for people who are candidates for brain surgery, particularly for the treatment of epilepsy. The use of Sodium Amytal (amobarbital) helps the surgeon determine which areas of the brain support memory and language functions, so the surgeon does not remove functional areas of the brain during surgery. The goal of the surgery is to remove areas of the brain that contribute to seizures, but leave the person's cognitive abilities intact. Because people with epilepsy often have uncharacteristic brain development, where certain areas of the brain that normally are not involved in the production of language or memory actually perform these functions, the Wada test is performed before brain surgery to determine which parts of the brain to spare and to identify which parts of the brain can be removed successfully without a significant loss of important cognitive functions.

Barbiturate man drugs like amobarbital have been largely replaced by benzodiazepines, other sedative drugs, and even antidepressant drugs, in some cases. Barbiturates were highly abused drugs when they were more commonly prescribed, and they are capable of producing very severe physical dependence.


A sedative and hypnotic barbiturate first discovered in 1923. Formerly widely used recreationally and medically, barbiturates have declined in popularity with the appearance of benzodiazepines and other drugs with less serious consequences in overdose.

RouteOnsetDurationAfter Effects
Tripsit Factsheets
All ROAs:10-30 minutes5-9 hours2-12 hours
Amobarbital Duration
All other CNS depressants.
Anxiolytic, Sedative, Muscle Relaxant, Amnesia, Dystaxia, Hypnotic.

Amytal Sodium (amobarbital sodium injection)
Side Effects:
The following adverse reactions and their incidence were compiled from surveillance of thousands of hospitalized patients who received barbiturates. Because such patients may be less aware of certain of the milder adverse effects of barbiturates, the incidence of these reactions may be somewhat higher in fully ambulatory patients.
More than 1 in 100 Patients
The most common adverse reaction, estimated to occur at a rate of 1 to 3 patients per 100, is the following:

Nervous System: Somnolence

Less than 1 in 100 Patients
Adverse reactions estimated to occur at a rate of less than 1 in 100 patients are listed below, grouped by organ system and by decreasing order of occurrence:

Nervous System: Agitation, confusion, hyperkinesia, ataxia, CNS depression, nightmares, nervousness, psychiatric disturbance, hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, abnormality in thinking
Respiratory System: Hypoventilation, apnea, postoperative atelectasis
Cardiovascular System: Bradycardia, hypotension, syncope
Digestive System: Nausea, vomiting, constipation

Other Reported Reactions: Headache, injection site reactions, hypersensitivity reactions (angioedema, skin rashes, exfoliative dermatitis), fever, liver damage, megaloblastic anemia following chronic phenobarbital use


Drug Interactions (493) Alcohol/Food Interactions (2) Disease Interactions (13)

What other drugs will affect Amobarbital?

A total of 493 drugs are known to interact with Amobarbital.

  • 30 major drug interactions
  • 442 moderate drug interactions
  • 21 minor drug interactions

Amytal Sodium (amobarbital sodium)
Maximum Dosage:
Prescribers Digital Reference
Adults:500 mg/day IM.
Geriatric:Maximum dosage not specifically recommended; do not exceed maximum adult dose of 500 mg/day IM.
Adolescents:Maximum dosage information is not available.
Children:Maximum dosage information is not available.
Infants:Safe and effective use has not been established.

Amobarbital withdrawal mimics delirium tremens and may be life-threatening.

  • A barbiturate derivative
  • Has sedative-hypnotic properties
  • White crystalline powder with no odor and a slightly bitter taste
  • It is considered an intermediate acting barbiturate
  • First synthesized in Germany in 1923
  • If amobarbital is taken for extended periods of time, physical and psychological dependence can develop

When given slowly by an intravenous route, sodium amobarbital has a reputation for acting as a so-called truth serum. Under the influence, a person will divulge information that under normal circumstances they would block. This was most likely due to loss of inhibition. As such, the drug was first employed clinically by Dr. William Bleckwenn at the University of Wisconsin to circumvent inhibitions in psychiatric patients. The use of amobarbital as a truth serum has lost credibility due to the discovery that a subject can be coerced into having a "false memory" of the event.

Related Substances:
Created Apr 2019


  • [TUINAL]


DEA CODE 2126: Schedule 3

Amytal is a prescription medication used primarily as a treatment for severe sleep disorders. Amytal is usually prescribed only to those already taking barbiturates because of its highly addictive nature. After taking Amytal for over a month, sudden stoppage can lead to Amytal withdrawal and the symptoms related to the withdrawal process. Amytal withdrawal symptoms can begin soon after taking the last dose, often within eight to 12 hours.

Amytal is intended for short-term use. Taking the medication over a lengthy period, for recreation to induce an intoxicated state or in combination with other drugs can cause both physical and psychological dependence.

Amytal is one of the few Barbiturates still used today. Due to its addictive nature, it is only administered by doctors for short terms. Amytal Sodium is a type of Barbiturate. A popular brand name for Amobarital, doctors prescribe the medication as a sedative or a preanesthetic before surgery. Developed before Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates were once the most popular sedative on the market. However, once Benzos provided a safer alternative to sedatives, Barbiturates fell from popularity. Today, Amytal is one of the few Barbiturates that are still prescribed. Amytal Sodium is an odorless, white powder. Doctors will administer it intravenously in by dissolving the salt in a liquid. Only doctors and other licensed medical practitioners can administer the drug, so it isn't prescribed to be taken home. Because of this, someone who has it in their possession most likely obtained it illegally.

Amytal is used as a sedative people who need to sleep or calm down. Though it isn't as popular as more modern sedatives, like Ambien or Xanax, some doctors will still use it. The difference from other prescription sedatives is that it can only a doctor can administer it in shot form.

People who abuse Amytal typically go about it in one of two ways. They will use it the same way as a doctor, dissolving the sodium in water then injecting it, or they can snort it in its powder form.


Tuinal was the brand name of a discontinued combination drug composed of two barbiturate salts (secobarbital sodium and amobarbital sodium) in equal proportions. The combination of a short-acting barbiturate, Secobarbital, with an intermediate-acting barbiturate, Amobarbital, aimed to put users to sleep quickly, and to keep them asleep through the night.

  • Tuinal was introduced as a sedative-hypnotic (sleeping pill) medication in the late 1940s by Eli Lilly.
  • It was produced in brightly colored half-reddish orange and half-turquoise blue gelatin capsule form (bullet-shaped Pulvules) for oral administration.
  • Individual capsules contained 50 mg, 100 mg, or 200 mg of barbiturate salts.
  • Eli Lilly has discontinued the manufacture of Tuinal in the United States due to the diminishing use of barbiturates (replaced by the benzodiazepine family of drugs) in outpatient treatment, and its widespread abuse.
  • Tuinal saw widespread abuse as a recreational drug from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The pill was known colloquially under the street names tuies, tumies, double trouble, blue tips, F-66's (which were the markings on Lilly's capsule), Christmas trees, rainbows, beans, nawls, and jeebs

Amobarbital was once manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company in the US under the brand name Amytal in bright blue bullet shaped capsules (known as Pulvules) or pink tablets (known as Diskets) containing 50, 100, or 200 milligrams of the drug. It was widely abused, known as blue heavens on the streets, and was discontinued by Eli Lilly in the early 1980s.

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