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dissolved in warm alcohol (spirits like vodka or whisky can be used) and the solution made alkaline by the addition of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The acid form of the barbiturate (which is in equilibrium with the salt) reacts with the alkali neutralising it. More of the acid changes to the salt as alkali is added. When all is converted to the sodium salt the solution can then be drunk to bring about a peaceful death.
Note: Do not add more alkali than that needed to convert the free acid to salt. 10gm of pentobarbital requires ~ 4gm of sodium bicarbonate.
Interaction with Other Drugs
Those who take Nembutal for a peaceful death are often taking other drugs for various health problems. When approaching the chosen time to take the Nembutal, the question is often asked about whether any intercurrent medications should cease.
There are few drugs that interfere significantly with the action of Nembutal, making it less effective. This is why there is no absolute need to cease taking other drugs in the preceding days. However, it is common for those planning their death to cease all but the essential medication in the week before their planned exit.
There is some evidence that chronic heavy alcohol use may lead to cross- tolerance and significantly impair the action of the barbiturate. Another instance would be the rare case where someone has been taking another