Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Mary Pat MurphyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1693


Luminal sodium


Phenobarbital is a long-acting barbiturate that acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Labeled indications include control of epilepsy (seizures disorders) and as a sedative/hypnotic medication for short-term treatment of insomnia.

As an antiepileptic drug (AED), it can be used as monotherapy in the treatment of generalized (tonic-clonic), simple, or partial complex seizures; for myoclonic epilepsy; and for neonatal and febrile seizures in children. It has also been prescribed for eclamptic seizures during pregnancy.

Historical Background

Phenobarbital is one of the oldest AEDs still in use. It was introduced in 1912 as Phenobarbital under the trade name Luminal. It was also used as a sedative-hypnotic for insomnia.

For many years, it was considered to be a first-line medication for patients with epilepsy. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, new AEDs were released (felbamate, gabapetin, lamotrigine, topiramate, and tiagamine) and...

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References and Readings

  1. Kemp, S., Feely, M., Hay, A., Wild, H., & Cooper, C. (2007). Psychological factors and use of antiepileptic drugs: Pilot work using an objective measure of adherence. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 12(1), 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mariani, J., Rosenthal, R., Tross, S., Singh, P., & Anand, O. (2006). A randomized, open-label, controlled trial of gabapentin and phenobarbital in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. American Journal on Addictions, 15(1), 76–84.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MSN, CRRNPaoliUSA