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Created Mar 2019 | Updated Nov 2020




DEA CODE 2100: Schedule 3

Butisol (butabarbital) is a barbiturate. It works by calming and relaxing you so you're able to sleep. It works very quickly to help you fall asleep, within 45-60 minutes, and it lasts 6-8 hours. But is not very good for sleeping problems because it can be addictive. Your body can get used to needing Butisol for sleeping. Butisol can interact with a lot of medicines, vitamins and supplements.

Butisol doesn't work as well after you've been taking it for two weeks because your body gets used to it. Also, it can be very dangerous if you try to stop taking Butisol suddenly if you've been on it for a long time. Talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking it.

People on Butisol have reported changes in behavior or unusual behaviors. This includes hallucinations and worsening depression. People have also done activities in their sleep while taking Butisol that they don't remember, like driving, cooking and eating, and making phone calls. Talk to your doctor right away since you should probably be on a different medicine.

Don't drink alcohol or take narcotics, tranquilizers or antihistamines if you're taking Butisol (butabarbital). This can slow down your breathing.

Barbiturates are non-selective depressants of the central nervous system. Butabarbital is one of them, which is used under brand name butisol sodium as a sedative or hypnotic. Like other barbiturates, butabarbital is capable of producing all levels of CNS mood alteration from excitation to mild sedation, to hypnosis, and deep coma. The mechanism of action by which barbiturates exert their effect is not yet completely understood, but is assumed, that butabarbital binds at a distinct binding site associated with a Cl- ionopore at the GABAA receptor, increasing the duration of time for which the Cl- ionopore is open. The post-synaptic inhibitory effect of GABA in the thalamus is, therefore, prolonged.

Trade Name = Butisol

Butabarbital is used on a short-term basis to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). It is also used to relieve anxiety, including anxiety before surgery. Butabarbital is in a class of medications called barbiturates. It works by slowing activity in the brain. Butabarbital comes as a tablet and solution (liquid) to take by mouth. When butabarbital is used to treat insomnia, it is usually taken at bedtime as needed for sleep. When butabarbital is used to relieve anxiety before surgery, it is usually taken 60 to 90 minutes before surgery. When butabarbital is used to relieve anxiety, it is usually taken three to four times a day.

Butabarbital should normally be taken for short periods of time. If you take butabarbital for 2 weeks or longer, butabarbital may not help you sleep as well or control your anxiety as it did when you first began to take the medication. If you take butabarbital for a long time, you also may develop dependence ('addiction,' a need to continue taking the medication) on butabarbital.


Drug Interactions (527) Alcohol/Food Interactions (1) Disease Interactions (11)

What other drugs will affect Butabarbital?

A total of 527 drugs are known to interact with Butabarbital.

  • 31 major drug interactions
  • 475 moderate drug interactions
  • 21 minor drug interactions


Summary of Use During Lactation:
Because there is little published experience with butabarbital during breastfeeding, other agents may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.

Alternate Drugs to Consider:

Appropriate studies to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of butabarbital in children when used before a surgical procedure.

Safety and efficacy have not been established in children to treat insomnia.

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of butabarbital in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more sensitive to the effects of this medicine and are more likely to have age-related liver or kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving this medicine.

Other Interactions:

  • Ethanol

Other Medical Problems:
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Alcohol abuse, history of
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Drug abuse, history of
  • Mental illness, history of
  • Patients with suicidal thoughts or behavior - Use with caution. May make these conditions worse
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease - Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body
  • Liver disease, severe (eg, hepatic coma)
  • Porphyria (enzyme problem), manifest or latent, history of - Should not be used in patients with these conditions
  • Patients with acute or chronic pain (except pain after surgery or chemotherapy) - Use with caution. May cause an opposite effect to one which is normally expected and mask symptoms of other unknown diseases

FDA PDF Fiorinal

FDA PDF Butisol


Barbiturate drugs such as butabarbital sodium are used now for short-term and acute treatment under strict doctor supervision only. Benzodiazepines are more commonly administered today.

  • A prescription barbiturate
  • Used as a sleep aid and anxiety medication
  • It is still prescribed in some Eastern European and South American countries
  • Its intermediate duration of action gives butabarbital an abuse potential slightly lower than secobarbital.
  • Butabarbital is also sold in combination with belladonna alkaloids under the brand name Butibel. The belladonna is added for antispasmodic effect. (Used to surpress muscle spasms)

Butabarbital has a particularly fast onset of effects and short duration of action compared to other barbiturates, which makes it useful for certain applications such as treating severe insomnia, relieving general anxiety and relieving anxiety before surgical procedures; however it is also relatively dangerous particularly when combined with alcohol, and so is now rarely used

Those taking Butabarbital are asked to watch out for signs of severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing.

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