Pentobarbital, also known as pentobarbitone, is a short-acting barbiturate. In high doses, pentobarbital causes death by respiratory arrest. In the United States, the drug has been used for executions of convicted criminals. Lundbeck (one of many manufacturers) does not permit its sale to prisons or corrections departments to carry out the death penalty.
Nembutal was widely abused and known on the streets as “yellow jackets” due to their yellow capsule. Pentobarbital in pill form is no longer available. The death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962 was ruled as probable suicide due to an overdose of Nembutal. Kenneth Halliwell’s death is also attributed to an overdose of Nembutal.
The following adverse reactions and their incidence were compiled from surveillance of thousands of hospitalized patients. Because such patients may be less aware of certain of the milder adverse effects of barbiturates, the incidence of these reactions may be somewhat higher in fully ambulatory patients.