Butalbital and acetaminophen
(byoo-TAL-bi-tal and a-seat-a-MIN-oh-fen)
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.
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.
Butalbital, structure presents as 5-allyl-5-isobutylbarbituric acid, is a barbiturate with an intermediate duration of action. It has the same chemical formula as talbutal but a different structure. Butalbital is often combined with other medications, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) or aspirin, and is commonly prescribed for the treatment of pain and headache. The various formulations combined with codeine are FDA approved for the treatment of tension headaches.
- Butalbital and paracetamol (acetaminophen) (trade names: Axocet, Bucet, Bupap, Cephadyn, Dolgic, Phrenilin, Phrenilin Forte, Sedapap)
- Butalbital, paracetamol (acetaminophen), and caffeine (trade names: Fioricet, Esgic, Esgic-Plus)
- Butalbital and aspirin (trade name: Axotal)
- Butalbital, aspirin, and caffeine (trade names Fiorinal, Fiormor, Fiortal, Fortabs, Laniroif)
- Butalbital, paracetamol (acetaminophen), caffeine, and codeine phosphate (Fioricet#3 with Codeine)
- Butalbital, aspirin, caffeine, and codeine phosphate (trade name: Fiorinal#3 with Codeine)
Butalbital is a physically and psychologically addictive barbiturate. Butalbital should not be mixed with alcohol due to increased risk of intoxication, increased respiratory depression, and increased liver toxicity when it is a butalbital combination including paracetamol. Many opioid-dependent persons frequently use barbiturates as a potentiator to their normal dose of opiates in order to increase the effects, or with a less than normal dose as means of conserving their supply. Especially when used with the stronger Schedule II narcotics, suicide or accidental death occurs much more frequently than first reported with one drug alone. Use of alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other CNS-depressants often also contribute to respiratory depression, coma, and in extreme cases fatality. This is why Butalbital is frequently encountered with other deterrents dangerous in higher doses such as, almost always, Paracetamol/Aspirin and Caffeine(much like Tylenol #3, Vicodin, Percocet). There are other potential risks; this list should not be considered all-inclusive.
Butalbital Abuse and Dependence
Barbiturates may be habit-forming: 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 patient’s regular dosage level and gradually decreasing the daily dosage as tolerated by the patient.
Butalbital Abuse Case Study
The patient was a 37-year-old woman with a history of depression and migraine headaches but not drug abuse. She developed a florid withdrawal delirium following the discontinuation of a drug she purchased online. The medication, which contained butalbital, was self-administered in escalating doses for the treatment of chronic headaches. Daily doses of up to 750 mg to 1000 mg were reported. The patient was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of unexplained seizures that were followed by several days of an intense withdrawal syndrome. Little improvement was noted after the administration of benzodiazepines and phenothiazine. After parenteral phenobarbital administration, her symptoms resolved.
Never Take more than your max dosage butalbital, or you will have
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Fioricet?
Butalbital may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Fioricet should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
Do not take Fioricet without first talking to your doctor if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day or if you have had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis). You may not be able to take medication that contains acetaminophen. You should especially focus on fioricet dosage because it is composed of butalbital, apap, caffeine. A lot of pain relief drugs are composed of butalbital, or apap, or caffeine. So you should read carefully for its components.
You should not take Fioricet if you are allergic to acetaminophen, butalbital, or caffeine, or if you have porphyria.
Before using Fioricet, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
- kidney disease,
- liver disease; or
- a history of mental illness or suicidal thoughts.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Fioricet.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Fioricet is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking Fioricet, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Fioricet without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.