Barbiturate withdrawal and magnesium deficiency in mice

J. K. Belknap, J. H. Berg, G. Ondrusek, S. Waddingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


C57BL/6J male mice rendered physically dependent on phenobarbital exhibited significantly lower whole-brain and serum-magnesium concentrations than did control mice. The symptoms of phenobarbital withdrawal were remarkably similar to those seen in magnesium-deficient mice exposed to a low-magnesium diet without drug exposure. These findings suggest that brain magnesium deficits produced by chronic phenobarbital withdrawal could contribute to the observed phenobarbital withdrawal syndrome. Administration of MgSO4 during withdrawal significantly reduced the incidence of tonic-clonic and lethal tonic seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-303
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1978


  • Barbiturate withdrawal
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Physical dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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