phenobarbital

Definition / meaning of phenobarbital

A long-acting barbituric acid derivative with antipsychotic property. Phenobarbital binds to and activates the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-A receptor, thereby mimicking the inhibitory actions of GABA in the brain. The activation effects of the phenobarbital-receptor-ionophore complex include increased frequency of chloride channel openings, membrane hyperpolarization and ultimately synaptic inhibition and decreased neuronal excitability. In addition, this agent inhibits glutamate induced depolarization.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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