Seizures are defined as “paroxysmal, uncontrolled electrical discharge of neurons in the brain that interrupts normal function” (Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, Butcher, & Camera, 20011). Seizures can be caused by various things from head trauma to a disease process. There are several types of seizures. These include absence partial and generalized seizures. They can also vary in intensity ranging from mild to full blown. Seizures can cause severe complications and should be treated or the cause of the seizures corrected. (Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, Butcher, & Camera, 20011).
Phenobarbital is classified as an anticonvulsant. This classification of drugs is used to “decrease the incidence and severity of seizures” (Deglin et al, 2011). The drug acts by depressing the central nervous system and preventing it from reaching a level where seizures would occur. This drug can be given several different ways. It can be given by mouth, intramuscular, subcutaneously, and as an IV medication. After it is absorbed into the body it is metabolized by the liver. The drug is used by the body and then is excreted via the kidneys. A patient should not be given this drug if they have a high sensitivity to the drugs, problems with their liver of kidneys, is experiencing uncontrolled pain, or has any respiratory diseases. The patient should not take if breastfeeding and should take with caution if pregnant. (Deglin et al, 2011)
The dosage of Phenobarbital varies greatly according to what the drug is given to treat. If it is given to manage seizures the dosage given is “1–3 mg/kg/day as a single dose or 2 divided doses” (Deglin et al, 2011). It can also be given as an IV med for status epilepticus. The dosage for this is “15–18 mg/kg in a single or divided dose, maximum loading dose 20 mg/kg” (Deglin et al, 2011). Phenobarbital has many side effects that range in severity from nausea to angioedema. A common side effect of this medication is hangover. Photosensitivity is also a side effect that the patient may experience when taking this drug. They May also experience constipations or diarrhea when on taking this medication. Some other side effects are “rashes, vomiting, hypotension, delirium, depression, drowsiness, excitation, lethargy, and vertigo” (Deglin et al, 2011). Patients who are taking Phenobarbital may also experience heart complications such as myalgia. (Deglin et al, 2011)
When administering Phenobarbital to the patient, it is important to take the patients vital signs and assess for pain. Since this medication can cause respiratory complications it is important to monitor respirations and lung sounds regularly and to have the appropriate equipment available in case of an emergency. The patient should be assessed for any signs of seizures. Since these medications affect the central nervous system, the patient’s level of consciousness should be monitored before and after administering the medication.
Health teaching is very important when administering...