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What is Fioricet - Migraine and Headache Medication Uses and Instructions

  • Date: 2010/06/05 (Rev: 2010/06/06) Ben Allan
  • Synopsis : Fioricet is a combination medication commonly used to treat tension headaches but doctors also recommend it for recurring migraines.

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You've probably heard of Fioricet. It is a combination medication commonly used to treat tension headaches but doctors also recommend it for recurring migraines.

Acetaminophen is used to decrease the pain associated with muscular tension and caffeine increases the efficiency of the pain-killing effect.

The last constituent of Fioricet is butalbital, a powerful sedative having the property to reduce anxiety and induce relaxation. This barbiturate is also responsible for the sleepiness appearing after Fioricet intake.
Fioricet is available as tablets for oral administration, to be taken whole, by mouth, with or without food.

The recommended dosage is of 1-2 tablets every 4 hours or as the doctor prescribes. Fioricet treatments can cause nausea and this is why most patients prefer to take this medication without food. Talking to the doctor about the nausea problem could lead to finding out essential information on how to reduce this unwanted effect. In fact, he/she can prescribe antihistamines for the nausea but there is also the possibility of lying down one hour after taking the medication.

The dosage for Fioricet is adapted according to each patient and the medical condition.

Throughout the entire period of the treatment, the doctor will monitor constantly the progress of the patient and the general response to the administration of the drug. One of the side-effects caused by Fioricet is drowsiness. There are a lot of patients who report to the doctor complaining of day-time somnolence and in many cases the dosage of Fioricet is lowered. By going to the doctor, you can find out all there is to be known about Fioricet. You will be instructed to take it as soon as the first symptoms of tension headaches appear.

Fioricet is prescribed with extreme caution and medical specialists advise against using this medication for prolonged periods of time and in high doses.

It may cause dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms if the treatment is stopped of all a sudden. These symptoms are extremely varied, including flu-like symptoms with running nose and watery eyes.

At the same time, there are patients who experience more serious symptoms with abnormal behavior, mental confusion and seizures. The best thing to prevent withdrawal syndromes is to ask your doctor to reduce the dosage gradually. You can also ask about the addiction potential presented by Fioricet and you will certainly be informed that this medication should not be taken in larger quantities or more frequently than indicated.

Regular checkups are a must when you follow a treatment with Fioricet.

Talk to your doctor if you have started to use more than the usual dosage, if you notice the headaches to have become worse or if they appear often. Only a healthcare professional can decide if you need dosage adjustment or special tests performed in order to determine the cause of your headaches. Never try to solve these problems by yourself and do not believe the higher doses of this medication will do the trick.

In high doses, acetaminophen can do permanent damage to the liver and an overdose can even lead to death. The important thing to remember is that acetaminophen overdose symptoms take usually two days to appear. The condition is extremely urgent and must be treated immediately. The first two signs one should look for is yellowing of the skin and extreme nausea.

Nevertheless, Fioricet overdosing is a combination of all the symptoms caused by acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine.

Barbiturate overdosing is likely to cause mental confusion, comatose states, sever fatigue, hallucinations and dyspnea. The treatment must be applied urgently, as butalbital can affect the vital centers of the brain. As for caffeine, high doses can lead to seizures, excessive perspiration and severe diarrhea. You can certainly understand that Fioricet is not something you take without consulting your doctor.

Before taking the medication, it is for the best that you tell your doctor if you have a history of substance abuse, alcohol addiction or if you have ever suffered from respiratory disease. Depression, liver disease and porphyria should also be mentioned.

Porphyria is a severe metabolic disorder and butalbital is not recommended to be used in such cases.

Fioricet can also interact with certain types of medication, including blood thinners, benzodiazepines, narcotic pain medication and tricyclic antidepressants. Be sure to discuss all these aspects with your doctor.

Remember, butalbital has a powerful effect on the central nervous system and this effect might be enhanced if you take MAO inhibitors at the same time.

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