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You are here: Home » eGM Resources » Health Information & Resources Portal|Home » RX Drug List (listed alphabetically) » Drug Reference (P's) » Pentobarbital



The barbiturates are nonselective central nervous system depressants which are primarily used as sedative hypnotics. The barbiturates and their sodium salts are subject to control under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (See ADVERSE REACTIONS: DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE subsection).

Barbiturates are substituted pyrimidine derivatives in which the basic structure common to these drugs is barbituric acid, a substance which has no central nervous system (CNS) activity. CNS activity is obtained by substituting alkyl, alkenyl, or aryl groups on the pyrimidine ring. Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium) is chemically represented by sodium 5-ethyl-5-(I-methylbutyl) barbiturate.

The sodium salt of pentobarbital occurs as a white, slightly bitter powder which is freely soluble in water and alcohol but practically insoluble in benzene and ether. Nembutal Sodium capsules for oral administration contain either 50 mg or 100 mg of pentobarbital sodium.

Inactive Ingredients

50 mg Capsule: FD&C Blue No.1, FD&C Red No.3, FD&C Yellow No.6, gelatin, lactose, magnesium stearate, polacrilin potassium and potassium chloride.

100 mg Capsule: colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, FD&C Blue No.1, FD&C Red No.3, FD&C Yellow No.5 (tartrazine), FD&C Yellow No.6, gelatin, magnesium stearate and potassium chloride.

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