Barbiturates arc commonly used in treating anxious, disturbed patients. Well controlled trials have shown that at least amylobarbitone (‘Amytal’) is therapeutically active (Scott, 1955; Raymond, Lucas, Beesley, O'Connell and Fraser Roberts, 1957; Robin, 1959), and that a newer barbiturate, nealbarbitone (‘Censedal’) is, weight for weight, equally effective (Robin, Cronin and Scotton, 1961). Since nealbarbitone is less hypnotic (Ryde, 1959; Hinton, 1963), it may be used in larger doses than are expedient with amylobarbitone, and this could make it more useful in controlling anxiety. Phenobarbitone is widely used, especially in general practice, to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Its activity in experimental animals, for example in preventing electrically induced convulsions without causing sleep, differs considerably from that of amylobarbitone (Merritt and Putnam, 1938), but it appears not to have been compared directly with amylobarbitone in a controlled clinical trial upon patients with anxiety.