How Well Fioricet Works

Introduction to Fioricet Efficacy

Although it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States, only limited data is available on the effectiveness of Fioricet to treat tension and migraine headaches. Its use has been primarily associated with the pain relieving effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the relaxation effects of butalbital. Only you and your doctor can determine together if taking Fioricet provides enough benefit to outweigh any potential risks.


Limited Information Supports the Use of Fioricet to Treat Tension Headache and Migraine

The use of barbiturates to treat migraines is not well established. Most of clinical trials conducted using barbiturates evaluate their effectiveness in reducing the pain of tension headaches and information about these studies is limited.

Due to concerns of over-use, medication-overuse headache, and withdrawal, the use of butalbital-containing pain relievers (such as Fioricet) should be limited and carefully monitored by your doctor.

Further research is needed in certain areas of migraine treatment.

Butalbital-containing products (such as Fioricet) used for treating migraines can cause:

  • Drug-induced headaches
  • The need to detoxify
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased medical expenses
  • Lower quality of life

These effects generally take years to develop.


Fioricet Use in Children

The safety and effectiveness of Fioricet in children under the age of 12 has not been proven. Therefore, Fioricet is not recommended for use in children.

Fioricet Use in Older Adults

Studies of Fioricet did not include enough people age 65 and older to determine if they respond differently to the medicine than younger people.

If you are an older adult using Fioricet, you should usually start at the lowest possible dose recommended by your doctor. Older adults are at increased risk of liver, kidney and heart conditions and often have other health conditions and are taking other medications.

Butalbital (an ingredient in Fioricet) is heavily removed from the body by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to Fioricet may be greater in people who have kidney damage. Because older adults are more likely to have kidney damage, they should usually start with the lowest possible dose recommended by their doctor. Older adults may also want to have their kidney function monitored while they are taking Fioricet.


Deciding if Fioricet is Right for You

Fioricet has been used by millions of consumers in the United States. Only a physician can decide if Fioricet is right for you, but you should understand the potential benefits and risks of taking this medicine. If you are taking Fioricet and have any concerns, be sure to speak with your doctor. Never stop taking any medication without your doctor’s advice.

Written & reviewed by: Lisa Erwin R.Ph. CGP | Last review date: Dec 2010. Click the References Link below for a complete list of references.

Written & reviewed by: Lisa Erwin R.Ph. CGP | Last review date: Dec 2010.
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