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Two other barbiturates that still find wide (although decreasing) use in medicine can also be usefully employed for a peaceful death. These are the anti-convulsant Phenobarbital, and the anaesthetic induction agent, Pentothal.
As discussed in Chapter 13, phenobarbital and pentobarbital are drugs that are often confused because of the similarity of their names. Although both are barbiturates, pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal) is the fast-acting soluble salt. This is the euthanasia drug of choice in all countries that allow assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. Phenobarb is a different drug. In its usual form, phenobarb is a slow-acting anti-convulsant, prescribed when there is a risk of convulsions (eg. brain trauma etc).
Some people will have access to phenobarb, either from their own doctor or from overseas pharmaceutical suppliers. A drink of 10gm (~ 250 of the white 30mg tablets shown in Fig 15.12) crushed and mixed with water will be lethal.
Note: There is no rapid loss of consciousness, as in the case of Nembutal. The time to death using phenobarbitone can be several hours. If one is found before death, resuscitation is very possible.