Are there any risks associated with taking phenobarbital?

Taking phenobarbital can carries the risk of impaired mental or physical abilities. People who have respiratory disease should not use it because it can affect breathing. Because phenobarbital is a barbiturate, prolonged use can create a tolerance, wherein the medication will not have the same level of effectiveness as it did at the beginning of treatment. Furthermore, phenobarbital can be addictive, so prolonged use should be closely monitored. It should be used cautiously with people who have experienced depression, suicidal tendencies, or drug abuse. The drug can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control pills. Studies have found cognitive deficits when phenobarbital has been used in children. Phenobarbital can also be passed through breast milk to nursing infants and can harm a developing fetus.

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