Secobarbital (marketed under the brand names Seconal® and Tuinal) is a drug which is a barbiturate derivative. It possesses anaesthetic, anticonvulsant, sedative and hypnotic properties. Was previously known as quinalbarbitone in the UK (former BAN).
Secobarbital began to be widely abused in the 1960s and 1970s, although with the advent of benzodiazepines, they have become less commonly used.
Secobarbital has acquired many nicknames, the most common being "reds" (it was originally packaged in red capsules). Another common nickname is "seccies". A less common nickname is "dolls"; this was partly responsible for the title of Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls, whose main characters use secobarbital and other such drugs .
Another popular brand of barbiturate pill Tuinal contained a combination of secobarbital and amobarbital but is now rarely prescribed due to problems with abuse and overdose.
Use as a lethal injection
Secobarbital overdose was the most common method of implementing physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in Oregon until Eli Lilly and Company discontinued manufacturing it in May 2001, leading to a shortage of the drug . Since then, pentobarbital has dominated in Oregon PAS. Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited have experienced approval issues in their attempts to produce secobarbital, but the shortage is expected to end in January 2006.