Objectives: While phenobarbital (PB) is commonly used for the management of seizures
in newborns and pediatrics, its administration may accompany acute poisoning. We aimed to review
the literature to find out the frequency of PB poisonings in newborns and children with
Method: A literature search was performed by two independent reviewers to find relevant articles
about PB toxicity in neonates and pediatrics that were treated for the seizure.
Results: 18 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in this systematic review. The
main reasons for PB poisoning in studied patients were therapeutic intoxication. Reported signs of
PB poisoning were lethargy, sedation, lack of sucking, fever, skin rash, hepatic inflammation and
alopecia. Moreover, respiratory depression, encephalopathy, myocardial failure, syndrome of inappropriate
antidiuretic hormone, and coma were among the complications of acute PB toxicity in
children and infants.
Conclusion: PB therapy for the management of seizures in newborns and children might be associated
with poisoning. Although supportive and symptomatic treatments are available for PB overdose,
it should be administered with caution, using drug monitoring to avoid toxicity.