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Start Date

1 Sep 2023

Last Review Date

29 Jan 2024

Expiration Date

31 Aug 2026

Estimated Time To Finish

60 Minutes

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Activity Description

Barbiturates are a category of sedative-hypnotic medications used for treating seizure disorders, neonatal withdrawal, insomnia, preoperative anxiety, and the induction of coma to address increased intracranial pressure (ICP). In addition, these medications are also helpful for inducing anesthesia. Thiopental, introduced in 1934 for general anesthesia induction, served as the primary intravenous anesthetic induction agent until propofol replaced it. Barbiturates approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use include phenobarbital, methohexital, butalbital, pentobarbital, primidone, and amobarbital.

Various barbiturates have been either discontinued or substituted with benzodiazepines. Given the prevalence of drug-drug interactions in specific populations, the collaborative efforts of the interprofessional team, including primary care, emergency medicine, and/or specialists, are essential for devising the most effective management plan based on best practices. This activity outlines the indications, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, administration, adverse effects, contraindications, and toxicology of certain barbiturates. Clinicians involved will examine the monitoring parameters encompassing a wide range of physiological considerations when employing barbiturates in the clinical setting, along with crucial aspects in the care management of patients using these substances.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, physician associates, nurses, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner will be better able to:

  • Identify the appropriate indications for barbiturate use in various clinical scenarios, such as seizure disorders, neonatal withdrawal, insomnia, and induction of anesthesia.

  • Implement safe and evidence-based practices when administering barbiturates, including proper dosing, monitoring, and adjusting for individual patient needs.

  • Assess patients regularly for signs of adverse effects and monitor therapeutic efficacy, adapting treatment plans as necessary.

  • Collaborate with the interprofessional healthcare team, including primary care, emergency medicine, and specialists, to develop comprehensive management plans for patients using barbiturates.


StatPearls, LLC requires everyone who influences the content of an educational activity to disclose relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies that have occurred within the past 24 months. Ineligible companies are organizations whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. All relevant conflict(s) of interest have been mitigated. Hover over contributor names for financial disclosures. Others involved in planning this educational activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Commercial Support: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

In support of improving patient care, StatPearls, LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


Nurses: StatPearls designates this activity for 1.00 ANCC contact hour(s). Nurses should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Please consult your professional licensing board for information on the applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity.

Method of Participation and Credit

  1. Register for the activity.    
  2. Review the target audience, learning objectives, and disclosure information.
  3. Study the educational content of the enduring material.
  4. Choose the best answer to each activity test question. To receive credit and a certificate, you must pass the test questions with a minimum score of 100%.
  5. Complete the post-activity assessment survey.

If you have concerns regarding the CE/CME system, please contact


This educational activity was planned and produced in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Readers should verify all information before employing any therapies described in this educational activity.

The information provided for this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical/clinical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The information presented does not necessarily reflect the views of StatPearls or any commercial supporters of educational activities on StatPearls expressly disclaims responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through a participant's misunderstanding of the content.

Unapproved Uses of Drugs/Devices: In accordance with FDA requirements, the audience is advised that information presented in this continuing education activity may contain references to unlabeled or unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Please refer to the FDA-approved package insert for each drug/device for full prescribing/utilization information.

Cancellation Policy: Please see the cancellation policy. StatPearls, LLC reserves the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances.




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