Phenobarbital (Luminal) Nursing Considerations

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Generic Name


Trade/Brand Name



  • Seizures
  • Sedation


  • Depresses sensory cortex
  • Decrease motor activity
  • Alters cerebellar function
  • Produces drowsiness, sedation, hypnosis

Therapeutic Class

  • Sedative
  • Hypnotic
  • Anticonvulsant

Pharmacologic Class

Long-acting barbiturate

Nursing Considerations

  • Contraindicated
    • Airway obstruction
    • Severe renal disorders
  • Monitor
    • Phenobarbital concentrations
    • CNS status
    • CBC with differential
  • Assess seizures
  • Use caution
    • Anemia
    • Depression
    • Cardiac disease
    • Diabetes
    • Hepatic impairment
    • Drug abuse
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Hey guys, let’s take a look at the drug phenobarbital. Also known as luminal. This is an IV IM oral medication, as you can see here. So the therapeutic class of phenobarbital or how it works in the body is an anticonvulsant sedative. And also H NTIC agent, the pharmacologic class or chemical effect of the drug is a long acting barbiturate Phenobarbital works by depressing the sensory cortex decreasing motor activity in altering Sarah Beller function in producing drowsiness and hypnosis. We use phenobarbital for the treatment of seizures, as well as for sedation. Some of the side effects that we see with phenobarbital are things like mood changes, fatigue, headache, and nausea. 

A few nursing considerations for phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is contraindicated with airway obstruction, as well as in patients with severe renal disorders. Make sure you monitor the phenobarbital concentrations, CNS status and CBC with D in your patient, assess your patient’s seizures. While on this medication use caution in patients who have anemia, depression, cardiac disease, diabetes, hepatic impairment, as well as drug abuse issues or history teach the patient that they should eat foods high vitamin D and also that folic acid vitamin D supplementation may be necessary while on this drug. And guys, sometimes phenobarbital is used off-label for alcohol sedative and hypnotic drug withdrawal. That’s it for phenobarbital or Lumin now go out and be your best self today. And as a happy nursing.

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