Generic name: Aspirin, Butalbital, and Caffeine
Brand name: Fiorinal (fee or in all) (Fioricet-is without caffeine)
WHY is this drug prescribed? The combination of aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine is effective in relieving migraine and tension headaches.
WHEN should it be used? Fiorinal is taken immediately at the onset of headache. If you have an aura before your migraines (flashing lights, vision changes, tingling), you should take the Fiorinal during this aura.
HOW should it be used? Fiorinal comes in tablets and capsules. Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose. In general, one to two tablets of Fiorinal can be taken every 4 hours for headaches.
- Swallow the capsules whole.
- The medication should be taken with food.
- Do not take more than 8 tablets per day unless specifically directed by your doctor.
What SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS should I follow while using this drug?
- This medication can cause drowsiness and sleepiness - do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how it affects you.
- Do not take alcohol. Alcohol can add to the drowsiness and stomach irritation.
- Keep all appointments with your doctor so that your doctor can monitor your response to this medication.
- Take Fiorinal exactly as your doctor has directed. Do not take more of it or take it more often than as instructed.
- It is often helpful to keep a log or a diary to track your pain. Write down the length of time and the severity of the pain on a scale from 1 to 10.
What SIDE EFFECTS can this medication cause? What can I do about them?
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain - Take Fiorinal after meals or with a full glass of water or milk. Contact your doctor if the nausea persists.
- Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion - Contact your doctor if these effects are severe.
- Ringing in the ears, bloody or black stools, difficulty breathing - Stop taking this medication and contact your doctor.
- Fiorinal should not be used during pregnancy. Stop the medication if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. Birth defects have not been demonstrated with Fiorinal but it is best to be safe and stop the medication.
- If you take large doses of this medication for a long time, you may have severe headaches for a few days after stopping the drug. Contact your doctor about alternate medications.
What OTHER PRECAUTIONS should I follow while using this drug?
- Before you take Fiorinal, tell your doctor if you are pregnant (or even if you think you could become pregnant), breast-feeding, have a history of bleeding problems, or ulcers.
- Tell your doctor what prescription and non-prescription drugs you are taking, especially anticoagulants (blood thinners), warfarin, coumadin, acetazolamide, corticosteroids, methotrexate, and medication for arthritis, gout, or diabetes.
- Do not take this medication with alcohol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, sedatives.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had a bad reaction to butalbital, phenobarbital, seconal, aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Naprosyn, or any aspirin-like medications.
- Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature. Throw away any medication that smells strongly of vinegar.
- Do not allow anyone else to take your medications.
Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
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