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Sounds Like: fee.OR.uh.set

Classification: Barbiturate

Controlled Substance Act Schedule: III

Other names for Fioricet

  • Barbs
  • Phennies
  • Reds
  • Red Birds
  • Tooies
  • Yellows
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Downers

Fioricet Addiction

What is Fioricet?

Fioricet is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat tension headaches. It’s a combination of three drugs, acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine. Acetaminophen acts to relieve pain from the headache. Butalbital has sedative properties, which work to produce the feeling of relaxation and reduce anxiety caused by the headache. Caffeine increases the pain-relieving effects of acetaminophen.

Fioricet Addiction

Fioricet is a controlled substance, meaning there is a potential for abuse that can lead to physical and mental dependence. It contains butalbital, a barbiturate sedative that is habit-forming on its own. When people take Fioricet to treat tension headaches, the butalbital produces feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. It also reduces the anxiety and restlessness caused by caffeine.

People who take Fioricet without a prescription or combine it with other Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants like alcohol might repeatedly use it to feel the initial effects of pain relief and relaxation. This is a sign of tolerance, or their body adjusting to the amount of Fioricet in their system. As a result, they might develop intense cravings to keep using the drug at higher doses. Or worse, they might experience physical withdrawal symptoms that could make them feel sick if they stop using Fioricet.

Many people might keep taking the drug to make the withdrawal symptoms go away, another sign that they depend on the drug to feel normal. It’s recommended for people struggling with Fioricet or barbiturate addiction to enter a medical detox, residential treatment or intensive outpatient program, where trained healthcare professionals can monitor them for worsening withdrawal symptoms and safely taper their bodies off the drug. Then, they can learn to manage their cravings, temptations and triggers with daily activities and counseling sessions.

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Intended Use of Fioricet

The combination of butalbital/acetaminophen found in Fioricet was approved for medical use in the United States in 1984. The combination of acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine is commonly used to treat tension headaches. It can also be helpful for people experiencing migraines. 

The three drugs work to manage a combination of symptoms caused by headaches, such as fever, restlessness and anxiety. Caffeine is said to boost the pain-relieving effects of acetaminophen. Meanwhile, the butalbital works to relax muscle contractions and causes sedation in the body. Because caffeine can make people restless, the butalbital found in Fioricet can counteract caffeine and calm them down.

How Fioricet Is Taken

Fioricet is taken by mouth in capsule form. Fioricet capsules contain 50 milligrams of butalbital, 300 milligrams of acetaminophen and 40 milligrams of caffeine. The appropriate adult dosage is one or two capsules per day, taken every four hours as needed for pain management. Doctors recommend not taking more than six capsules per day.

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Side Effects of

If any of these side effects become severe, immediately call a doctor.

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Relaxation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling "high" or intoxicated

Signs of an
Addiction to Fioricet

Uncontrolled cravings for Fioricet

Unsuccessful attempts to stop using Fioricet

Prioritizing the use of Fioricet over spending time with family or friends

Legal or financial problems

Stealing items or money to obtain more Fioricet

Use of Fioricet despite negative health or social consequences

Lying to doctors or therapists to get more Fioricet

Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit using Fioricet

Abuse Facts

Late actress Marilyn Monroe abused barbiturates

About 9% of high school students abuse barbiturates like butalbital, one of the ingredients found in Fioricet

Fioricet capsules cost about $7 without insurance