Luminal (Phenobarbital) Detox: Side Effects And Timeline

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021

Luminal (phenobarbital) is a powerful sedative-hypnotic that can be addictive and toxic in high doses. Detoxing from Luminal may cause intense side effects that may require medical and behavioral treatment to safely and effectively manage.

How To Detox From Luminal

Luminal (phenobarbital) is a strong sedative that belongs to a class of drugs known as barbiturates. With chronic use, Luminal can be habit-forming and cause dependence.

Detoxing from Luminal after a long period of drug use, or drug abuse, should not be attempted without first speaking to a doctor. Stopping it can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Detox programs for Luminal abuse or addiction can offer a tapering schedule, as well as medical treatment and a referral for substance abuse treatment after detox.

Find out more about barbiturate detox programs

What Is Luminal Detox?

Luminal detoxification, or detox, is a process of getting rid of the Luminal in the body through stopped drug use. This may require weaning off Luminal gradually.

Luminal detox is typically recommended for people who:

  • have taken Luminal regularly for at least several weeks
  • abuse Luminal alone or in combination with other drugs
  • are otherwise at-risk for Luminal withdrawal syndrome

Luminal detox may result in the development of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the body’s reaction to detox once physically dependent on a substance—i.e. drugs or alcohol.

Signs You Need Luminal Detox

Seeking detox for getting off Luminal is recommended for any person who has developed Luminal dependence.

Signs of phenobarbital dependence include:

  • taking high doses of Luminal
  • having to take more Luminal over time for the desired effect
  • feeling psychologically reliant on Luminal
  • feeling sick if you go more than a few hours without taking more Luminal

Luminal dependence can develop by taking the medication chronically for a medical condition—e.g. epilepsy—or as a result of chronic Luminal abuse.

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Side Effects Of Luminal Detox

Detoxing from Luminal can cause certain physical and psychological side effects that are clinically referred to as withdrawal syndrome.

Withdrawal symptoms may be more intense if you stop taking the drug abruptly, as well as for people with certain risk factors.

Symptoms of Luminal withdrawal can include:

  • anxiety
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • fainting
  • sweating
  • confusion
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • muscle twitches
  • changes in vision
  • psychosis
  • seizures

Symptoms may develop within hours of taking your last dose, if severely dependent. Without treatment, medical complications during Luminal detox can occur.

Dangers Of Luminal Detox

Barbiturate withdrawal is one of the most dangerous forms of withdrawal among all drug types, in addition to withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Primary dangers of Luminal detox include:

  • hyperthermia (very high body temperature)
  • seizures
  • circulatory failure
  • death

Certain risk factors, including chronic drug abuse and the abuse of multiple drugs, may increase the likelihood of experiencing complications during Luminal withdrawal.

With the assistance of medical professionals, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms can be prevented and effectively managed when and if they do occur.

How Long Does Luminal Detox Last?

Signs of Luminal withdrawal can begin within eight hours of taking your last dose, and may last up to five days. Some symptoms may linger over the course of two weeks.

The timeline for Luminal detox may depend on the following:

  • duration of Luminal use
  • dose taken
  • method of use (i.e. for prescribed use or drug abuse)
  • use of other drugs
  • co-occurring disorders
  • overall health status

Luminal Detox Programs

Stopping Luminal without first talking to a doctor is not advised. Typically, if you have been misusing Luminal or have an addiction, a detox program will be recommended.

Luminal detox programs are offered through some detox facilities, as well as inpatient drug treatment centers and outpatient rehab centers that offer detox services.

Medical Detox For Luminal Addiction

Medical detox, also known as medically supervised detox, is the safest way to detox from drugs like Luminal that can cause intense withdrawal.

What medical detox can offer:

  • 24-hour medical observation
  • treatment for severe withdrawal symptoms
  • fluids support
  • treatment referral for continued care

Medical detox is typically the first component of a treatment plan for barbiturate addiction, which may require additional inpatient or outpatient treatment to overcome.

Luminal Detox FAQs

Luminal, a brand name for phenobarbital, is a powerful barbiturate. Find answers to common questions about Luminal detox and treatment options here.

❓ What Is The Drug Luminal Used For?

✔️ Luminal is a powerful sedative-hypnotic that can be used to control seizures. It may also be prescribed as a short-term treatment for anxiety or insomnia.

❓ Can You Stop Phenobarbital Abruptly?

✔️ Stopping phenobarbital (Luminal) cold turkey, or all at once, without first tapering off the drug is not recommended. This can cause severe and potentially lethal side effects.

❓ How Long Does Luminal Stay In Your System?

✔️ Phenobarbital, also known as Luminal or Belladonna, can stay in a person’s system for anywhere from one day to four weeks.

❓ Can You Detox From Luminal At Home?

✔️ This is not generally advised. If you have mild dependence on Luminal, and do not have a substance use disorder, your doctor may help you taper your dosage gradually.

Outpatient detox poses critical risks for people detoxing from Luminal and other barbiturates due to the possibility of life-threatening medical complications.

Find Luminal Detox For A Loved One Today

Luminal is an addictive drug that can be dangerous to detox from alone. If you’re looking for detox for yourself or a loved one, we may be able to help.

Call our helpline today for information about Luminal detox and how to find detox options at a treatment center that’s right for you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021
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