Fioricet side effects- Wikiinforms
What Is Fioricet (Butalbital, Acetaminophen and Caffeine)?
Fioricet is a prescription medication used to relieve tension headaches. It works by relaxing muscle contractions that can result in mild to moderate head pain.
Fioricet is a combination of three ingredients: the pain reliever acetaminophen; butalbital, a barbiturate; and caffeine, a stimulant.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Fioricet in 1984. Novartis Pharmaceuticals was the original manufacturer. In 2003, Watson Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to Fioricet (Watson is now known as Actavis).
Fioricet is currently available from many manufacturers as a generic.
The original formulation of Fioricet included 50 milligrams (mg) of butalbital, 40 mg of caffeine, and 325 mg of acetaminophen.
However, in 2011 the FDA asked makers of prescription combination drugs with acetaminophen to limit the amount of that drug to no more than 325 mg in each tablet by 2014. This action was taken to protect consumers from severe liver damage, a risk linked with taking too much acetaminophen.
Today Fioricet includes 320 mg of acetaminophen, though some versions of the product sold online still have 325 mg.
The Fioricet 'High' and Abuse
The butalbital in Fioricet belongs to a class of drugs called barbiturates, a central nervous system depressant. Like other barbiturates, it has the potential to cause physical and psychological dependence, which can lead to abuse.
Those who use too much Fioricet may report feeling so relaxed and stress-free that they seek out the drug as a way to get high. Some describe it as feeling intoxicated. However, users can feel depressed and "crash" once the effects wear off.
Fioricet with Codeine
Another formula, Fioricet with codeine, is also made by Actavis to treat tension headaches. It contains 30 mg of codeine in addition to the other three drugs, and has an increased acetaminophen dose of 325 mg.
Fioricet with codeine carries a black-box warning about liver toxicity, and about the risk of respiratory problems and death in children caused by codeine.
Fioricet carries a black-box warning cautioning users about the link of acetaminophen to acute liver failure. In some cases, users of Fioricet have needed a liver transplant; in other cases, use of Fioricet has proven fatal.
Most problems have occurred with an acetaminophen dose of more than 4,000 mg a day. Those affected are often taking more than one product containing acetaminophen at the same time or have underlying liver disease.
Another caution concerns butalbital, which may be habit-forming and therefore has the potential to be abused.
Those with a condition known as porphyria, a rare hereditary blood disorder, should not use Fioricet.
Pregnancy and Fioricet
Fioricet is in Pregnancy Category C, according to the FDA, which means that injury to the developing fetus cannot be ruled out. Even so, the benefits of the drug to the mother must be weighed against the potential risk to the unborn baby.
All three drugs found in Fioricet are found in small amounts in human milk, but the significance of that is not known.
You should discuss with your doctor whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking the drug, weighing the benefits against the costs.
Fioricet Side Effects
Like all medicines, Fioricet can have side effects.
Common Side Effects of Fioricet
Among the most commonly reported:
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Feeling short of breath
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Feeling of intoxication
Severe Side Effects of Fioricet
If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away or go to the closest emergency room:
- Skin rash
- Breathing problems
Rare Side Effects of Fioricet
Other side effects of Fioricet are infrequent. Among these are:
The effects of one or more of the drugs in Fioricet may enhance the effects of other drugs. These may include:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), antidepressants including Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), and others
- Tranquilizers such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Sedative-hypnotics, such as prescription sleeping pills
- General anesthesia drugs
Remember to always tell your doctor about any prescription, non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), illegal and recreational drugs, herbal remedies, nutritional and dietary supplements, and all other drugs and treatments you're taking.
Fioricet and Alcohol
Ask your doctor about whether to avoid alcohol while taking Fioricet. The drug may enhance the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Drinking while on Fioricet may increase the risk of liver damage from the acetaminophen.
The recommended dose:
- 1 to 2 capsules every 4 hours as you need it for pain
- Do not take more than 6 capsules daily.
You should not use Fioricet long term, due to the possibility for physical dependence and abuse.
If you overdose on Fioricet, toxicity is more likely to result from the butalbital and acetaminophen than the caffeine, since it is present in relatively small amounts.
If you are affected by confusion or extreme drowsiness or other worrisome symptoms, contact your doctor right away or go to the closest emergency room.
Missed Dose of Fioricet
If you miss a scheduled dose, take it when you remember it. However, if it is nearly time for the next dose, just resume your regular medication schedule. Never double up on doses.
Q: My doctor prescribed Fioricet for my knee pain. I thought it was for migraines. I am nervous about taking it because it says it has barbituates in it. I am sensitive to a lot of medication. Should I be concerned, or just try it?
A: Fioricet is a combination product that is usually prescribed for tension migraine headaches. It contains acetaminophen (Tylenol), caffeine, and butalbital. Butalbital is a barbiturate and can become addictive if used for long periods of time; it can cause drowsiness so caution should be used during activities that require mental alertness such as driving. It is not certain why the physician chose this medication for knee pain when there are so many others to select. It is best to ask the physician why this particular medication was chosen if you have concerns. For more information on Fioricet see //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/fioricet Lori Poulin, PharmD
Q: My husband has back pain and is taking Fioricet, Paxil, atenolol, and Xanax. What is the maxium dosage of Fioricet that he should take in a 24-hour period? Does this drug have any effects on your heart? He recently had severe chest pain and was on the verge of a heart attack when I got him to the hospital. After a heart catheter, he was found with a 40 percent blockage in the distal LAD. It is open with some blood flow, so it is being treated with medicine. Is the pain medicine causing the blood flow to be slower?
A: There is no known drug interaction among Paxil, Atenolol, Xanax, or Fioricet. No studies indicate that Fioricet has any harm in heart disease. Fioricet is a combination of butalbital, a barbituate pain reliever, acetaminophen, and caffeine. Fioricet can be taken with or without food. No more than 6 tablets should be taken in a 24-hour period. Also no other Tylenol (acetaminophen) should be taken with Fioricet to avoid a Tylenol overdose. You can also find helpful information on Fioricet at //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/fioricet. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
Q: What is this medication used for? The name is butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine 50/325-40.
Q: Is Fioricet addicting?
A: Fioricet (butalbital-acetaminophen-caffeine) is a combination drug indicated to treat tension or muscle contraction headaches. Butalbital has a generalized depressant effect on the central nervous system and, in very high doses, has peripheral effects. Acetaminophen has analgesic and antipyretic effects; its analgesic effects may be mediated through inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase enzyme complex. Caffeine is thought to produce constriction of cerebral blood vessels. The most common side effects reported with Fioricet include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and intoxicated feeling. Butalbital, a barbiturate, may be habit-forming and potentially abusable. Therefore, extended and repeated use of Fioricet is not recommended. Patients should take the drug only for as long as it is prescribed, in the amounts prescribed, and no more frequently than prescribed. Tolerance, psychological dependence, and physical dependence may occur especially following prolonged use of high doses of barbiturates. The average daily dose for the barbiturate addict is usually about 1500 mg. As tolerance to barbiturates develops, the amount needed to maintain the same level of intoxication increases; tolerance to a fatal dosage, however, does not increase more than two-fold. As this occurs, the margin between an intoxication dosage and fatal dosage becomes smaller. The lethal dose of a barbiturate is far less if alcohol is also ingested. Major withdrawal symptoms (convulsions and delirium) may occur within 16 hours and last up to 5 days after abrupt cessation of these drugs. Intensity of withdrawal symptoms gradually declines over a period of approximately 15 days. Treatment of barbiturate dependence consists of cautious and gradual withdrawal of the drug. Barbiturate-dependent patients can be withdrawn by using a number of different withdrawal regimens. One method involves initiating treatment at the patientâ€™s regular dosage level and gradually decreasing the daily dosage as tolerated by the patient.
Q: What is Fioricet?
A: Fioricet (butalbital-acetaminophen-caffeine) is a fixed combination drug product intended to treat tension or muscle contraction headaches. Butalbital has generalized depressant effect on the central nervous system and, in very high doses, has peripheral effects. Acetaminophen has analgesic and antipyretic effects; its analgesic effects may be mediated through inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase enzyme complex. Caffeine is thought to produce constriction of cerebral blood vessels. The most common side effects reported with Fioricet include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and intoxicated feeling. Butalbital, a barbiturate, may be habit-forming and potentially abusable. Therefore, extended and repeated use of this product is not recommended. Tension headaches (stress headaches) are the most common form of headaches. Two in three people will have at least one tension headache in their lifetime. They can be mild or severe and usually begin slowly and gradually-often starting in the middle of the day. Tension headaches are caused by muscle tightening in the back of the neck and/or scalp, often triggered by emotional stress, fatigue, or depression. There are two types of tension headaches: episodic tension-type and chronic tension-type headaches. Episodic tension-type headaches occur randomly and less frequently. Chronic tension-type headaches are daily or continuous headaches where the intensity of the pain may vary during a 24-hour cycle. Symptoms of tension headaches typically include tightness in the head or neck muscle, tightening band-like sensations around the neck and/or head (a "vice-like" ache), a dull, achy feeling on both sides of the head, and pain in the forehead, temples or back of the head and/or neck. Chronic tension-type headaches may also be accompanied by changes in sleep patterns or insomnia, early morning or late day occurrence of headache, weight loss, dizziness, poor concentration, ongoing fatigue, or nausea. Tension headaches are often triggered by tension and stress, fatigue, long periods of reading, typing or concentration (eye strain), hunger, postural imbalance, spine and neck injuries, high blood pressure and physical or emotional stress.
Video: Fioricet for Headaches1]
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