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(pen toe BAR bi tal)

Brand Names: US

  • Nembutal [DSC]

Therapeutic Category

  • Antiseizure Agent, Barbiturate
  • Barbiturate
  • General Anesthetic
  • Hypnotic
  • Sedative

Medication Safety Issues

Sound-alike/look-alike issues:

PENTobarbital may be confused with PHENobarbital

Nembutal may be confused with Myambutol

Older Adult: High-Risk Medication:

Beers Criteria: Pentobarbital is identified in the Beers Criteria as a potentially inappropriate medication to be avoided in patients 65 years and older (independent of diagnosis or condition) due to its high rate of physical dependence, tolerance to sleep benefits, and increased risk of overdose at low dosages (Beers Criteria [AGS 2019]).

Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA): Pentobarbital is identified as a high-risk medication in patients 65 years and older on the PQA’s, Use of High-Risk Medications in the Elderly (HRM) performance measure, a safety measure used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicare plans (PQA 2017).

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