Metharbital is used for the treatment of epilepsy.
Metharbital, a barbiturate, is used for the treatment of short term insomnia. It belongs to a group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants that induce drowsiness and relieve tension or nervousness. Little analgesia is conferred by barbiturates; their use in the presence of pain may result in excitation.
mechanism of action
Metharbital binds at a distinct binding site associated with a Cl-
ionopore at the GABAA
receptor, increasing the duration of time for which the Cl-
ionopore is open. The post-synaptic inhibitory effect of GABA in the thalamus is, therefore, prolonged. All of these effects are associated with marked decreases in GABA-sensitive neuronal calcium conductance (gCa). The net result of barbiturate action is acute potentiation of inhibitory GABAergic tone. Barbiturates also act through potent (if less well characterized) and direct inhibition of excitatory AMPA-type glutamate receptors, resulting in a profound suppression of glutamatergic neurotransmission.
Signs of overdose include confusion (severe), decrease in or loss of reflexes, drowsiness (severe), fever, irritability (continuing), low body temperature, poor judgment, shortness of breath or slow or troubled breathing, slow heartbeat, slurred speech, staggering, trouble in sleeping, unusual movements of the eyes, weakness (severe).