Sector: Hormone 1
Transport: at 2-8˚c, -20˚c
Storage: 2 days at 2-8˚c for longer time at -20˚
Test Name: Phenobarbital
Normal Range: theraputic 15-40 slowness ataxia hystagmas:35-80 Coma with reflexes:65-117 coma without reflexes>100
To find out if the phenobarbital level in the blood is at an appropriate level for an individual patient
At regular intervals to monitor phenobarbital levels in the blood and if needed to detect low or toxic levels
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm
This test measures the level of phenobarbital in the blood. Phenobarbital is a barbiturate, a sedating drug that depresses the nervous system. Doctors usually prescribe phenobarbital to prevent fits or to relieve anxiety. Phenobarbital is often prescribed to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders because the drug stabilizes electrical activity in the brain. Patients may become dependent on the drug after prolonged use.
Your doctor will monitor your response to phenobarbital to make sure that you have the desired level of the drug in your bloodstream and to find out what is the best dose for you. Monitoring the level also helps assure your doctor that the level of the drug circulating in your bloodstream is not toxic. Your doctor might request a phenobarbital level when you begin taking the drug, and any time while on the drug, to find out if the dose is right for you. Your doctor might also decide to request a test if you begin taking another medicine because several common drugs can affect how your body responds to phenobarbital. The following drugs can have effects with phenobarbital:
- oral blood-thinning medications like warfarin
- central nervous system depressants, sedatives, hypnotics and tranquillisers
- oral contraceptives
- corticosteroids like prednisone
- doxycycline used to treat bacterial infections
- griseofulvin, a drug used to treat fungal infections
- phenytoin, another medication often prescribed to treat seizures.
It is important for you to have a constant level of phenobarbital in the blood that is within the “target” range. If your level is too low, you may experience fits or anxiety. If the level is too high, you could experience side effects or toxicity .
Maintaining a constant, therapeutic level of phenobarbital in the blood can be difficult. Phenobarbital is metabolised by liver enzymes and removed in the urine at different rates, depending on your age and overall health. Depending on dose, age and health, full removal can take several days to weeks. Once the body has reached its capacity to metabolise phenobarbital, small increases in dose can result in large increases in levels of the drug in the blood. Side effects can become more severe, and toxicity may occur.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is collected by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.