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Pentobarbital overdose



Pentobarbital is sedative, which is a medicine that makes you sleepy. Pentobarbital overdose occurs when a person intentionally or accidentally takes too much of the medicine.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Alternative Names

Nembutal overdose; Pentosol overdose; Sopental overdose; Repocal overdose

Poisonous Ingredient


Where Found

Pentobarbital is the generic name for the following medicines:

  • Nembutal
  • Pentosol
  • Repocal
  • Sopental
Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

However, DO NOT delay calling for help if this information is not immediately available.

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Laxative
  • Tube through the mouth or nose into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

In severe cases, a breathing machine may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. With proper treatment, recovery may occur within 1 to 5 days.


Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006.

Review Date: 2/3/2009
Reviewed By: John E. Duldner, Jr., MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Samaritan Regional Health System, Ashland, Ohio. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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