Barbiturates act as central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates are derivatives of a chemical called barbituric acid. Various barbiturate drugs are available in the market; however, all have sedative effect on the central nervous system and are clinically prescribed for anxiety. Barbiturates are also used in the treatment of epilepsy, insomnia, and status epilepticus. Barbiturate drugs are available in pill form and can be taken orally and intravenously. Barbiturates are subjected to the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in the U.S. Hence, manufacture and distribution of these drugs are strictly controlled. Barbiturate drugs act by enhancing the activity of one of the primary neurotransmitters in the brain known as gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). An increase in GABA has a sedative effect on the user’s brain. The effect of barbiturate lasts between 4 hours and 16 hours, depending on the type and strength of the dose.
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Barbiturates become dangerous when combined with other depressants such as alcohol. There is a high risk of dependency from regular use of barbiturate drugs. This can be a physical dependency, psychological dependency, or both. The amount required for overdose varies from person to person. A lethal dose of barbiturate drug ranges from 2 mg to 3 mg with drugs such as amobarbital. Barbiturate drugs are addictive and highly dangerous because of the way these remain in the body. Larger doses and long term use of barbiturates produce withdrawal symptoms including hallucination, seizure, and suicidal thoughts. Overdose of barbiturates resulted in 396 deaths in the U.S. in 2010.
Key players operating in the global barbiturate drugs market are Eli Lilly and Company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Oak Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Meda pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mylan Specialty L.P., Sanofi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Pfizer, Inc., and Merck and Co., Inc.
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