Butalbital and acetaminophen combination is a pain reliever and relaxant. It is used to treat tension headaches.
Butalbital belongs to the group of medicines called barbiturates. Barbiturates act in the central nervous system (CNS) to produce their effects.
Things to note about Fioricet
Fioricet can be habit-forming, so you should use extreme caution if you decide to take it. Additionally, some people who take barbituates or opioids for extended periods can experience rebound headaches, which can increase in severity. These are also known as MOH, or medication overuse headaches.1
Barbituates can cause drowsiness, and their effect can be increased by alcohol use. It is important not to drive or use heavy machinery until you know how this drug affects you.2
Before taking Fioricet, tell your doctor if you:
- Are allergic to any ingredients in the medication
- Are taking blood thinners, antidepressants, antihistamines, or other sedatives like sleeping pills or tranquilizers.
- Are taking pain medications. Many over-the-counter pain relievers contain acetaminophen, and too much of this drug can be harmful.
- Have ever had liver disease, porphyria, or depression
- Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your health care provider and should let them know of any other prescriptions, OTCs, and herbals you are taking to ensure there are no interactions.
When you take butalbital for a long time, your body may get used to it so that larger amounts are needed to produce the same effects. This is called tolerance to the medicine. Also, butalbital may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence) when it is used for a long time or in large doses. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects when you stop taking the medicine. In patients who get headaches, the first symptom of withdrawal may be new (rebound) headaches.
Some butalbital and acetaminophen combinations also contain caffeine. Caffeine may help to relieve headaches. However, caffeine can also cause physical dependence when it is used for a long time. This may lead to withdrawal (rebound) headaches when you stop taking it.
Butalbital and acetaminophen combination may also be used for other kinds of headaches or other kinds of pain as determined by your doctor.
These medicines are available only with your doctor’s prescription.
Tips of Taking Fioricet
- Do not overuse Fioricet because you may become addicted to it and have difficulty stopping it.
- Over-use of Fioricet can also result in a medication-overuse headache (also known as a rebound headache) which occurs when analgesics are taken too frequently to relieve a headache.
- Never share your Fioricet with anybody else.
- May be administered without regards to food; although food may decrease any reported stomach upset.
- If you have been taking Fioricet regularly, or if you think you have become addicted to it, talk to your doctor about slowly withdrawing it, as sudden withdrawal may precipitate a withdrawal syndrome (symptoms include anxiety, dizziness, hallucinations, muscle twitching, nausea, seizures, sleeplessness, or tremor).
- Fioricet can cause sedation and affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.
- Do not drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man or one alcoholic drink per day if you are women and taking Fioricet.
- Talk to your doctor if you have any side effects of concern. Seek urgent medical advice if you develop an allergic-type reaction (difficulty breathing or swallowing, rash, or facial swelling) soon after taking Fioricet.
- Not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Fioricet contains acetaminophen which may be “hidden” in other cough/cold medicines. The total dose of acetaminophen from any source should not exceed 4000mg per day (24 hours).
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications or natural products with Fioricet as it can interact with a large number of drugs.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Fioricet?
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to acetaminophen, butalbital, caffeine, or codeine, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems;
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
- porphyria; or
- if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
This medicine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.
Do not give this medicine to anyone younger than 18 years old who recently had surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- breathing problems, sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
- a head injury, or seizures;
- liver or kidney disease;
- urination problems;
- problems with your gallbladder, thyroid, or adrenal gland; or
- alcoholism or drug addiction.
If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed. Codeine can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.