Glutethimide

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Pronunciation: gloo-TETH-ih-meyed

Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number: 77-21-4

Formal Names: Doriden, Elrodorm, Noxyron

Informal Names: CB, CD, Ciba, D, Glue, Goofballs, Goofers. With codeine: Doors & 4s, Dors & 4s, 4 Doors, G & C, Hits, Loads, Packets, Pancakes & Syrup, Sets, Setups, 3s & 8s

Type: Depressant. See page 19

Federal Schedule Listing: Schedule II (DEA no. 2550)

USA Availability: Prescription

Pregnancy Category: C

Uses. The substance became available in the 1950s as an alternative to barbiturates. As a medicine this drug is mainly used to calm people and make them sleepy. It has also been used to help prevent jaundice in newborns and to reduce muscle tremors in adults. Glutethimide intoxication has been likened to that from alcohol or barbiturates.

Drawbacks. Glutethimide can have a rebound effect, meaning that if a person is taking the drug to combat anxiety or insomnia and stops taking it, those conditions can temporarily become worse than before. One study found that after several months the drug's ability to induce sleep deteriorates so badly that users have more trouble falling asleep than insomniacs who don't use any sleep-inducing drug.

A test of the drug's influence on mental ability found little effect, but tobacco smokers seemed to be affected more than nonsmokers. A test of skills related to automobile driving found little influence from glutethimide. The drug produced inconsistent results in another experiment measuring alertness, reaction time, and decision making. Those tests, however, involve normal doses during relatively brief time spans. Generally people are advised to become aware of how the drug affects them before attempting to run dangerous machinery. Long-term heavy abuse can reduce mental skills in ways that resemble organic brain damage. Animal experiments suggest that the substance may worsen porphyria, a body chemistry disorder that can make a person violent. The drug can aggravate urinary tract blockage and should be used cautiously by persons with enlarged prostate. Eyesight difficulty and dry mouth are among typical unwanted effects.

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