Fioricet is a prescription medicine that’s used to relieve tension headaches primarily because it relaxes the muscle contractions that cause head pain, ranging in severity from mild to moderate in most cases.

Fioricet is a brand name consisting of a combination of butalbital (a barbiturate), acetaminophen and caffeine which is indicated for the treatment of tension headaches, muscle contraction headaches and post-dural puncture headaches. Although not indicated, they are commonly used to treat migraines and other pain related ailments.

A tension headache is different from a migraine because as was touched on above, it’s believed that migraines stem from neurological issues, whereas a tension headache is often the result of triggers like stress, bad posture, or tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Tension headaches don’t necessarily affect your vision, strength or balance, but a true migraine can affect all of these things. Migraines can also cause nausea and vomiting.

Additionally, tension headaches don’t have a genetic component, whereas migraines often run in families.

All of these distinctions are important to recognize when considering what Fioricet is used for, and why it’s not necessarily the best treatment option for migraines.

Fioricet contains three primary ingredients which are butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine.

Butalbital is a barbiturate, and it can relieve muscular tension by acting as somewhat of a muscle relaxant, and it can also relieve pain because it acts on the central nervous system. Along with releasing muscle contractions, butalbital can also create a sense of relaxation and relieve symptoms of anxiety. The acetaminophen acts as a pain reliever, and the caffeine can open up the flow of blood through blood vessels, which is thought to help with some headache pain.

So, with all that being said, people wonder if Fioricet is used for headaches, can it also be used for migraines?