Quest Diagnostics

Drug testing for barbiturates

Barbiturates were first introduced for medical use as mild sedatives, anesthestics, anticonvulsants and pain killers. They depress the central nervous system and induce sleep. Due to reports of overdoses and dependence that peaked in the 1970s, barbiturates were classified as Schedule III drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Today, safer benzodiazepines have essentially replaced barbiturates to treat anxiety and insomnia. Yet, barbiturates are still used currently for the treatment of epilepsy, migraines and cluster headaches. 
Recreational users of barbiturates report feelings of relaxation, contentment and euphoria according to the National Institutes of Health. Physical side effects can include sluggish speech, drowsiness, dizziness, shallow breathing, fever, slow heartbeat, confusion, irritability and, in severe cases, coma or death. Barbiturates have a high potential for addiction. Overdoses often result due to the mixing of barbiturates with alcohol and other drugs such as the opioids, hydrocodone and oxycodone.
There are many types of barbiturates, and depending on the specific drug, the effects can last from minutes to days. Common names of barbiturates include Amobarbital®, Butalbital®, Pentobarbital®, Phenobarbital®, Secobarbital® and Talbutal® (Lotusate).
View the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ for trends in drug testing. 
Download our reference guide for Common Drugs of Abuse.