Fiorinal vs Fioricet – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Fiorinal

It is the brand name of a combination of caffeine, butalbital, and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. This stimulant relaxes muscle contractions in blood vessels to improve blood flow.

Butalbital belongs to the group of drugs called barbiturates that act in the central nervous system to produce their effects.

Acetylsalicylic acid is a pain reliever and a fever reducer.

Uses

This combination medicine is typically used to treat tension headaches.

Note – it is not for treating headaches which come and go.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 1 or 2 capsules every 4 hours. It works best if it is used as the first signs of a headache occur. Do not take more than 6 capsules in a 24-hour period.

Note – keep out of the reach of children since overdose with this medication is especially dangerous in children.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects include:

  • stomach pain;
  • dizziness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • drowsiness;
  • upset stomach;
  • gas;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • bloody or tarry stools;
  • slow heart rate;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • confusion;
  • shallow breathing;
  • problems with urination;
  • muscle twitching;
  • coughing up vomit which looks like coffee grounds;
  • purple pinpoint spots under the skin;
  • pounding heart rate;
  • unusual bleeding (nose, vagina, mouth, or rectum);
  • easy bruising.

To make sure that his medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • fluid retention;
  • kidney disease;
  • high blood pressure;
  • liver disease;
  • a history of a brain tumor;
  • any type of respiratory disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;
  • heart disease;
  • Addison’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder);
  • urination problems;
  • enlarged prostate.

Alcoholalcohol

There may be a negative interaction between this medication and alcohol. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication.

Drug Interactionsdiuretics water pill

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Ambien (zolpidem);
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine);
  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine);
  • albuterol;
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • Aleve (naproxen);
  • Lyrica (pregabalin);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • naproxen;
  • ferrous sulfate;
  • codeine;
  • metformin;
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • oxycodone;
  • gabapentin;
  • Prozac (fluoxetine);
  • ibuprofen;
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone);
  • Topamax (topiramate);
  • naloxone;
  • lisinopril;
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • Norco (acetaminophen/hydrocodone);
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • omeprazole;
  • Vicodin (acetaminophen/hydrocodone);
  • Percocet (acetaminophen/oxycodone);
  • trazodone;
  • durezol;
  • prednisone;
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • tizanidine;
  • gralise;
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • tramadol.

Addiction

Butalbital is habit-forming and potentially abusable. Also, withdrawal symptoms may occur when you stop taking this medication.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

This medication passes into breast milk and could have negative effects on a breastfed baby. Do not take this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Also, this medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Barbiturates have been shown to increase the chance of birth defects in humans.

Fioricet

It is the brand name of a combination of caffeine, butalbital, and acetaminophen.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that relaxes muscle contractions in blood vessels to improve blood flow.

Butalbital is in a group of medications called barbiturates that relaxes muscle contractions involved in a tension headache.

Acetaminophen is used to decrease the pain associated with muscular tension.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Fioricet in 1984. Novartis Pharmaceuticals was the original manufacturer. In 2003, Watson Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to produce Fioricet.

Uses

This prescription medication is typically used to relieve tension headaches.

Note – it is only used for symptom treatment once a migraine headache has begun. This medication is not used for migraine prevention.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as required for pain. Do not take more than 6 capsules in a 24-hour period.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • drunk feeling;
  • dizziness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • feeling anxious or restless;
  • drowsiness.  

Rare side effects may include:

  • shortness of breath;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • confusion;
  • liver disease;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • clay-colored stools;
  • loss of appetite;
  • itching;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • nausea.

To make sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • kidney disease;
  • if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day;
  • stomach ulcer or bleeding;
  • drug addiction;
  • liver disease;
  • if you use medicine to prevent blood clots;
  • a history of suicidal thoughts;
  • a history of skin rash caused by any type of drug;
  • sleep apnea;
  • asthma.

Alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages while on this medication may increase the risk of liver damage. Also, the medication may enhance the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • general anesthesia drugs;
  • sedative-hypnotics, like – prescription sleeping pills;
  • tranquilizers, like – chlordiazepoxide (Librium);
  • antidepressants, such as – Nardil (phenelzine) or Marplan (isocarboxazid).

Pregnancy & BreastfeedingPe

This medication passes into breast milk and could have negative effects on a breastfed baby. Do not take this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Also, this medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Barbiturates have been shown to increase the chance of birth defects in humans.

Addiction

The butalbital in this medication belongs to a class of medications called barbiturates, a central nervous system depressant. Like other barbiturates, it has the potential to cause psychological and physical dependence, that can lead to abuse.

Bottom Line – Fiorinal vs Fioricet

Fiorinal (active ingredients – caffeine, butalbital, and acetylsalicylic acid) is used to provide temporary relief from the symptoms of a migraine, tension headache, post-partum pain, menstrual pain, and pain associated with dental and surgical procedures.

Fioricet (active ingredients – caffeine, butalbital, and acetaminophen) is a medication used to treat tension headaches which are caused by muscle contractions.

References

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=a00c6776-e9ef-411
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15613167
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1526-4610.1998.3807516.x

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