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What is Fioricet

Fioricet is a narcotic prescription medication. Fioricet is a combination of active and inactive ingredients such as butalbital, caffeine, and acetaminophen. It is often used to treat headaches such as tension, muscle contraction, and headaches resulting from post-dural puncture. Fioricet is sometimes prescribed to relieve certain migraine symptoms; however, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has not approved this use.

The active ingredient butalbital is a barbiturate, used to relax the muscle to relieve headaches. Acetaminophen is also an active ingredient that works as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Caffeine arouses the central nervous system to help relax the muscle and increase blood flow. 

Read below for more information on Fioricet.

Fioricet side effects

Fioricet has also been known to worsen headaches when used too much. Notify your doctor of any and all side effects after taking this medicine.

Common side effects include, but not limited to

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Euphoria
  • Substance dependence
  • Increased thirst
  • Trembling
  • Troubles breathing
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Increased sleepiness.

The most serious side effect of Fioricet usage is a reaction to barbiturates known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Symptoms include mood swings, dizziness or fainting, seizures, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Allergic reactions are rarely reported. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience swelling of the throat, tongue, face or lips, or an unusual rash that includes itching or swelling.

How to use Fioricet

Take as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you are prescribed Fioricet liquid, always use the provided cup or syringe to measure out the correct dosage. Never use a regular kitchen spoon, as you could get the wrong amount of medicine.

Do not deviate from your doctor’s instructions when it comes to this medication, doing so could cause serious side effects or even drug addiction. Fioricet can cause drug seeking actions such as unintended overuse of this drug. This may increase in patients who have used alcohol or narcotics throughout their lives.  

Drug interactions

Certain prescription drugs, or over-the-counter (OTC) medications may affect the way Fioricet works and could increase risks for certain side effects. Write down all prescription and OTC medications, as well as any dietary supplements or vitamins you are taking. Your doctor should have a complete list before prescribing Fioricet.

Medications known to interfere with Fioricet include

Antibiotics such as disulfiram, valproic acid, cimetidine, fluvoxamine, and erythromycin.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors including methylene blue, isocarboxazid, rasagiline, linezolid, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, phenothiazines, selegiline, tranylcypromine, isoniazid, and lithium.

Blood thinners like Warfarin, estrogen, doxycycline, felodipine, theophylline, and quinidine.

Beta blockers including corticosteroids, metoprolol, and prednisone.

Anxiety or sleep disorder medications such as zolpidem, alprazolam, and diazepam.

Seizure drugs like carbamazepine.

Psychotic medications such as trazodone, risperidone, and amitriptyline.

Special precautions

Read the labels printed on all prescription and OTC drugs, to make sure they do not contain sleep aids or caffeine, as they may interfere the Fioricet. Avoid drinks containing caffeine as well.

Fioricet has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of certain birth control products such as NuvaRing, birth control pills, or patches.

Make sure to inform the medical examiner that you are taking this medication before drug analysis testing, as one of the active ingredients of Fioricet is a barbiturate.

Fioricet withdrawal and addiction

Withdrawal symptoms from Fioricet can occur within 16 hours of the last dose. Symptoms considered significant include convulsions and delirium. This can happen if the drug is stopped abruptly. Over the course of 15 days, the symptoms may decline. 

Thirty-six hours after the last dose individuals may feel minor withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, muscle twitching, tremors, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, weight loss, and weakness. Other symptoms include visual distortion of perception and postural hypotension. 

Seizures can be exhibited anywhere between 24 hours and 4 days after the last dose. More than 50% of patients that have seizures will develop delirium tremors that can last for several days. Fioricet withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the length and dose of usage.

Individuals that suddenly stop taking barbiturates may endure symptoms of discomfort, headaches, and seizures. People can also go through caffeine withdrawal which may trigger mild headaches to severe migraines. 

Patients may have less intense side effects if they stop the Fioricet gradually. A tapering off method is commonly used. This consists of cutting down the amount of the drug being used little by little. Never stop a medication without consulting your healthcare provider first.

Overdosing instructions

If you or someone you love is believed to be experiencing symptoms of overdose, seek immediate medical attention. You can also contact American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of severe overdose consist of:

  • Uncontrollable sleepiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness, upset stomach or abdominal pain, loss of appetite and vomiting
  • Sweats or chills
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin and or eyes

The content in this article is meant for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute the instructions or advice of Healthcare Experts. Follow all instructions given to you by your doctor. A healthcare Expert should be consulted before using any medication, or changing a drug treatment schedule.

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