Symptoms & Signs
Symptoms of acute barbiturate intoxication include:
- Altered level of consciousness
- Difficulty in thinking
- Drowsiness or coma
- Faulty judgment
- Shallow breathing
- Slowness of speech
- Slurred speech
Diagnosis & Tests
Physical exam and clinical history are usually sufficient to make the diagnosis. Drug screens, both urine and serum, can detect barbiturates for up to 5 days after ingestion. Additional blood tests may show the severity of breathing difficulty.
The most common physical exam findings seen in a barbituate overdose are:
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Decreased breathing rate (respiratory depression)
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose : Treatment
Review Date : 1/14/2010
Reviewed By : Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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