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Created Feb 2019



DEA CODE 2100: Schedule 3

Barbiturates are derivatives of barbituric acid. Barbiturates (central nervous system depressants) that are not specifically scheduled by the DEA fall under this umbrella of Barbituric Acid Derivatives

Barbituric acids are sedative drugs comprising a vast class of synthetic substances with closely related chemical structures and similar pharmacological activities. They are odorless, white crystalline solids which are only slightly water-soluble and hence administered mainly by the oral route. Their sodium salts, on the other hand, dissolve quite readily in aqueous media, which, when sterile, are suitable for subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injection. The therapeutic value of these drugs is unquestioned, and in spite of certain shortcomings-the ideal sedative is still to be discovered or synthesized-they have by far supplanted all other hypnotic agents and are manufactured on a truly magnificent scale.

Their production in the United States has increased by more than 400% since 1933 and now appears greatly to exceed the amount needed for therapeutic purposes. In 1954 798,000 pounds were manufactured. This is an amount equivalent to 3,619,728,000 capsules of 0.1 gram each, or approximately 22 doses per person in that country.

During the five decades these compounds have been in clinical usage the classical methods of preparation have practically remained unchanged.

1930's Habitual use of barbituric acid derivative in India:

EuropePMC PDF Barbituric Acid Derivative

The name barbiturate originates from the fact that they are all chemical derivatives of barbituric acid.

  • A barbiturate is a drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant.
  • They are effective as anxiolytics, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants
  • They have physical and psychological addiction potential as well as overdose potential among other possible adverse effects
  • They have largely been replaced by benzodiazepines but are still in use for various purposes: in general anesthesia, epilepsy, treatment of acute migraines or cluster headaches, acute tension headaches, euthanasia, capital punishment, and assisted suicide.

Barbiturates have largely been replaced by benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs) in routine medical practice, particularly in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, due to the significantly lower risk of addiction and overdose and the lack of an antidote for barbiturate overdose.

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