[Drugs for intravenous induction of anesthesia: barbiturates]

C Dumps, E Halbeck, D Bolkenius
Der Anaesthesist 2018, 67 (7): 535-552
The discovery of barbituric acid and research on its derivatives have long been of importance in advancements in modern anesthesia. Decades of clinical use of barbiturates worldwide and their abuse has led to an enormous amount of knowledge. Thiopental and methohexital are ultra-short acting derivatives of barbiturates. Their clinical application has been accompanied by an enormous increase in the knowledge of the pharmacology of cerebrally active drugs, in particular gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAA ) receptor and GABA-induced effects on nerve cell membranes. Despite the development of newer substances, thiopental still has a firm place in clinical applications. Currently it is mainly used in obstetrics for induction of cesarean sections under general anesthesia. A disadvantage, when properly used to induce anesthesia, is usually only the prolonged elimination kinetics of barbiturates. It is beneficial that barbiturates do not require side effect provoking solubilizers.

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