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mephobarbital

Generic Name: mephobarbital (MEF oh BAR bi tal)
Brand Name: Mebaral

What is mephobarbital?

Mephobarbital is in a group of drugs called barbiturates (bar-BIT-chur-ates). Mephobarbital slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.

Mephobarbital is used as a sedative to treat anxiety, tension, and apprehension (dreading or feeling uneasy about what you think may happen). Mephobarbital is also used to treat seizures.

Mephobarbital may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about mephobarbital?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to mephobarbital or to other barbiturates such as amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton).

Before taking mephobarbital, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, anemia, heart disease, asthma or other breathing disorder, or a history of depression, mental illness, suicide attempt, or drug/alcohol addiction.

Do not use mephobarbital without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Mephobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking mephobarbital.

Mephobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Mephobarbital should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking mephobarbital?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to mephobarbital or to other barbiturates such as amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use mephobarbital:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • anemia (lack of red blood cells);

  • heart disease;

  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing disorder;

  • a history of depression, mental illness, or suicide attempt; or

  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Mephobarbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Mephobarbital should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. It could also cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes mephobarbital during late pregnancy. Do not use mephobarbital without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

Mephobarbital can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking mephobarbital.

Mephobarbital can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take mephobarbital?

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication. Mephobarbital is sometimes taken several times a day. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Do not stop using mephobarbital without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may have increased seizures if you stop using mephobarbital suddenly. You will need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

If you use this medication long-term, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Store mephobarbital at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Mephobarbital is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of mephobarbital can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include slow or shallow breathing, blurred vision, extreme drowsiness, decreased body temperature, fast heart rate, and fainting.

What should I avoid while taking mephobarbital?

Mephobarbital can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Do not drink alcohol while taking mephobarbital. Alcohol can increase the risk of fatal overdose with a barbiturate.

Mephobarbital side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • confusion, hallucinations;

  • slow heart rate; or

  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness;

  • memory or thinking problems;

  • feeling nervous or agitated;

  • nausea, vomiting; or

  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Mephobarbital dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Sedation:

32 mg to 100 mg 3 to 4 times daily.
Optimum dose: 50 mg 3 to 4 times daily.

Usual Adult Dose for Epilepsy:

For use in the treatment of grand mal and petit mal epilepsy:
Average dose: 400 to 600 mg daily.

It is preferable that the dose be taken at bedtime if seizures generally occur at night and during the day if attacks generally occur during the day.

Treatment should be started with a small dose. The dose may be gradually increased over 4 or 5 days until the optimum dosage is determined. If the patient has been taking another antiepileptic drug, it should be tapered off as the dose of mephobarbital is increased.

Similarly, when the dose is to be lowered to a maintenance level or is to be discontinued, the dose should be reduced gradually over 4 or 5 days.

Mephobarbital may be used in combination with phenobarbital, either as alternating courses or concurrently. When the two drugs are used at the same time, the dose should be about one-half the amount of each used alone.

Mephobarbital may also be used with phenytoin sodium. When these two drugs are used concurrently, a reduced dose of phenytoin sodium is advised, but the full dose of mephobarbital may be given.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Sedation:

16 to 32 mg 3 to 4 times daily.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Epilepsy:

<5 years: 16 mg to 32 mg 3 to 4 times daily.

>5 years: 32 to 64 mg 3 or 4 times daily.

It is preferable that the dose be taken at bedtime if seizures generally occur at night and during the day if attacks generally occur during the day.

Treatment should be started with a small dose. The dose may be gradually increased over 4 or 5 days until the optimum dosage is determined. If the patient has been taking another antiepileptic drug, it should be tapered off as the dose of mephobarbital is increased.

Similarly, when the dose is to be lowered to a maintenance level or is to be discontinued, the dose should be reduced gradually over 4 or 5 days.

Mephobarbital may be used in combination with phenobarbital, either as alternating courses or concurrently. When the two drugs are used at the same time, the dose should be about one-half the amount of each used alone.

Mephobarbital may also be used with phenytoin sodium. When these two drugs are used concurrently, a reduced dose of phenytoin sodium is advised, but the full dose of mephobarbital may be given.

What other drugs will affect mephobarbital?

Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety can add to sleepiness caused by mephobarbital. Tell your doctor if you need to use any of these other medicines while you are taking mephobarbital.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);

  • doxycycline (Adoxa, Doryx, Oracea, Vibramycin);

  • griseofulvin (Grisactin, Fulvicin PG, Grifulvin V);

  • phenobarbital (Solfoton);

  • steroid medicines such as hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone), and others;

  • phenytoin (Dilantin), divalproex sodium (Depakote), valproic acid (Depakene); or

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with mephobarbital. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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