Module 2: Basic Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs and Substances

Lesson 1

Barbiturates – Indications

Common Indications, Dosage and Route
Drug Indication Usual Oral Adult Dosage
Butalbital used in combination with analgesics (ASA and Tylenol) in the management of mild to moderate headache Oral: 50-100 mg PO in combination with analgesics; may be repeated in 4 hours with acute headaches. To prevent rebound headache, combination analgesics should not be used for more than 10 days.
Phenobarbital seizure disorders adults: 90-120 mg PO HS
preoperative sedation adult: 100-200 mg IM 60-90 minutes prior to surgery
children: 1-3 mg/kg PO or IM 60 -90 minutes prior to surgery
status epilepticus Adults: 20 mg/kg IV at a rate of 50-75 mg/minute
Children: 20 mg/kg IV over 20 minutes.
Phenobarbital injection is available through the Special Access Program, Health Canada.


  • Canadian Pharmacists Association. (2014). E-Therapeutics. Ottawa: Author.
  • Edmunds, M.W. & Mayhew, M.S. (2014). Pharmacology for the Primary Care Provider (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby