Barbiturates are a depressant drug most often prescribed to induce sleep, relieve anxiety and stress, reduce muscle spasms and treating epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. Approved medical use of barbiturates has declined significantly since the introduction of a safer group of sedative-hypnotic drugs called benzodiazepines. Similarly, the illegal use of barbiturates has declined as the drug is much less readily available. Prescription barbiturates include:
Barbiturates are often referred to as downers, blue devils, yellow jackets, reds, red birds, pinks, and pink ladies. The names are derived mostly from the color of the pills themselves. Barbiturates are mostly taken orally.