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December 9, 1974

Barbiturates and Barbiturate-Like Drugs: Considerations in Their Medical Use

JAMA. 1974;230(10):1440-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240100058035

SEEKING relief from discomfort by chemical means is not a new phenomenon. In some respects, the only difference in today's drug-oriented society is the variety of substances available for ameliorating the pressures and tensions of everyday living.

Symptom Relief Through Psychoactive Drugs  Because of the proliferation of psychoactive substances, the physician, today more than ever before, should guard against contributing to drug abuse through injudicious prescription practices or by acquiescence to the demand of some patients for instant chemical answers to their problems.In the management of an illness for which a cure is unavailable, the physician should attempt to keep his patient as comfortable and symptomfree as possible. Treatment may frequently include administration of a psychoactive drug, such as an opiate for a terminal illness or a sedative for mild insomnia. Symptomatic relief is a legitimate goal in medical practice, but the prescription of a psychoactive drug requires caution