Phenobarbital acts on GABAA receptors, increasing synaptic inhibition. This has the effect of elevating seizure threshold and reducing the spread of seizure activity from a seizure focus. Phenobarbital may also inhibit calcium channels, resulting in a decrease in excitatory transmitter release. The sedative-hypnotic effects of phenobarbital are likely the result of its effect on the polysynaptic midbrain reticular formation, which controls CNS arousal.
Phenobarbital, the longest-acting barbiturate, is used for its anticonvulsant and sedative-hypnotic properties in the management of all seizure disorders except absence (petit mal).
Hepatic (mostly via CYP2C19).
CNS and respiratory depression which may progress to Cheyne-Stokes respiration, areflexia, constriction of the pupils to a slight degree (though in severe poisoning they may wshow paralytic dilation), oliguria, tachycardia, hypotension, lowered body temperature, and coma. Typical shock syndrome (apnea, circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest, and death) may occur.
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