What Does "Pheno" Mean In Phenobarbital?

The pharmacist discusses what the prefix "pheno" means in phenobarbital

Jul 11, 2018

Tony asked

Our professor mentioned SI conversions and gave us an example of a person who received a lethal dose of phenobarbital due to a conversion error. I know what a barbiturate is, however I hear the term "pheno" as a prefix to a variety of compounds. What exactly does "pheno" mean or indicate about a compound?


The prefix "pheno" simply refers to a drug compound that is derived from benzene. If you look at the chemical structure for phenobarbital, you will notice that it contains a benzene ring. Other "pheno" compounds include:

  • Phenol
  • Phenolsulfonic Acid
  • Phenooxybenzamine
  • Diphenoxylate

Benzene ring:





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