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Sounds Like: seh.koe.barr.BUH.tahl

Classification: Barbiturates

Controlled Substance Act Schedule: III

Other names for Secobarbital

  • Barbs
  • Reds
  • Red Devils
  • Red Dillies
  • Seccies
  • Cardinals
  • Ruby Slippers
  • Dolls

Secobarbital Addiction

What is Secobarbital?

Secobarbital is a prescription sedative commonly used as a short-term treatment for insomnia (sleeping problems). It belongs to the drug class barbiturates, also known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Secobarbital works by acting as a sedative-hypnotic (sleeping pill). It causes a wide range of depression to the CNS, like mild sedation or coma, reducing anxiety and inhibitions (shyness) and causing sleepiness.

Secobarbital is marketed and sold under the trade name Seconal.

Secobarbital Addiction

Secobarbital has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Due to its sedative properties, tolerance to the depressant is easily developed. The drug is known to reduce anxiety and inhibitions (shyness). Therefore, people who regularly use secobarbital might require larger doses to produce similar side effects. 

This can lead to withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or lack of appetite, which might cause some people to keep taking secobarbital to manage the symptoms. For that reason, addiction experts recommend entering a medical detox program to safely ease the body off secobarbital under the supervision of trained staff at a detox center.

Taking more secobarbital than prescribed, using it recreationally, or combining the drug with alcohol can lead to memory loss, impaired judgment or coordination, irritability and paranoia. Large amounts of secobarbital can lead to adverse reactions like weakened breathing, increased heart rate or coma, which are all signs of an overdose that could result in death.

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Intended Use of Secobarbital

Secobarbital was patented in 1934 in the United States. Users are known to prefer the short-acting and intermediate effects of the depressant. Along with pentobarbital, secobarbital is the most common drug prescribed in Oregon, Washington and Vermont, three states with physician aid-in-dying laws.

How Secobarbital Is Taken

Take Secobarbital exactly as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

Secobarbital is taken by swallowing a red pill or injecting a liquid solution. For sleep, secobarbital is best taken for short periods of time (7 to 10 days).

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Side Effects of

If any of these side effects become severe, immediately call a doctor.

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Relaxation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling "high" or intoxicated

Signs of an
Addiction to Secobarbital

Uncontrolled cravings for Secobarbital

Unsuccessful attempts to stop using Secobarbital

Prioritizing the use of Secobarbital over spending time with family or friends

Legal or financial problems

Stealing items or money to obtain more Secobarbital

Lying to doctors or therapists to get more Secobarbital

Use of Secobarbital despite negative health or social consequences

Inexplicable weight loss

Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit using Secobarbital

Abuse Facts

Late American celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain struggled with an addiction to secobarbital and other drugs

As of 2017, secobarbital is available for physician-assisted suicide in Canada

A fatal dose of secobarbital ranges from 2,000 milligrams to 10,000 milligrams