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Glutethimide Side Effects

Glutethimide Side Effects

White pills spilling out of a toppled bright red orange pill bottle


While the 1950s saw the dangers of barbiturates continue to skyrocket, drug developers sought out a safer, less addictive alternative to treat insomnia patients. The Swiss chemical company, Ciba, introduced glutethimide, a hypnotic sedative that became a very popular substance throughout Europe and the US.  

It adopted the brand name Doriden and, unfortunately, was soon revealed to cause similar negative reactions to the drugs it was created to replace. Manufacturing ceased in the US in 1993, and this action was followed by several Eastern European countries by 2006.  

Today, our Banyan rehab in Texas explains glutethimide side effects and the dangers of abuse. 

Glutethimide Uses 

Doriden is a sedative agent that has been used to manage symptoms of insomnia. Users undergo hypnotic sensations similar to those caused by pentobarbital, and it has served as a substitute for patients unable to manage their barbiturate use. That being said, it is now known to not have any leverage over benzodiazepines, leading to a much more limited use up until its discontinuation.  

In an illegal, recreational setting, glutethimide has been taken with codeine, referred to on the streets as “cibas and codeine.” Being a CYP2D6 enzyme inducer, adding glutethimide to this mix can enable the user’s body to modify greater levels of codeine into morphine. This produces an extended, powerfully euphoric sensation that can become highly addictive and has even been compared to the experience of injecting heroin.  

It was classified as a Schedule II drug once it was discovered to contribute to the rising number of codeine-related deaths in the 1990s.  

If you or a loved one are currently battling a dependence on these sedative combinations, our Texas treatment center is equipped with a variety of effective treatments to get to the bottom of the addictions. 

Side Effects of Doriden Use 

Any kind of substance abuse can lead to lifelong complications. Common side effects of glutethimide include: 

  • Blurry vision 
  • Skin rash or ulcers 
  • Gastrointestinal irritation 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 

Glutethimide was especially popular in the 1970s, during which a number of pregnant women addicted to the substance gave birth to infants suffering from neonatal withdrawal. It has been discontinued for some time, so coming into contact with Doriden would likely be in a recreational setting, resulting in a higher likelihood of abuse and overdose. Symptoms can include: 

  • Cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) 
  • Coma 
  • Renal failure 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Delusions 

It has also been reported that the combination with codeine can contribute to the high number of overdose deaths, as users' bodies become adjusted to the substance, requiring greater amounts to produce the same euphoric effects. 

You Are Not Alone 

Accepting that a problem is present is often the first and most important step to tackling it. To be self-reflective enough to come to these conclusions is one of the bravest things a person can do.  

It is never too late to seek out treatment until it is. At Banyan Texas, we have extensive staff and resources waiting to support you or your loved one in the journey to sobriety. Even withdrawal symptoms can be managed in a safe, medically monitored environment to get you, your body, and your mind in the best place possible before treatment commences.  

For more information on our Banyan Texas treatment services, call 888-280-4763 today! 


Related Readings: 

Hydrocodone vs. Codeine 

Promethazine and Codeine 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.