What are some of the dangers of taking Fioricet for migraine?
- Fioricet can be habit-forming: Over time, your body can stop responding to a regular dose of Fioricet, which might push you to take a higher dose than you normally would. It is also possible to develop a dependency on Fioricet. In other words, you might begin to think you can’t feel normal without it. This might cause you to take Fioricet too frequently.
- Too much Fioricet can make you dangerously sleepy: Butalbital is a relaxant, and it can be harmful when combined with other relaxants, including alcohol. In large doses this effect can be life-threatening. Additionally, because Fioricet contains acetaminophen and caffeine, you should not take it with Tylenol, cold medicines that contain acetaminophen, caffeine pills, or caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, soda, or energy drinks. Both acetaminophen and caffeine are also dangerous at high doses.
- Stopping Fioricet quickly can cause withdrawal: If you’ve been taking Fioricet for a while, you could experience symptoms of withdrawal, including seizures, if you stop taking it suddenly. Talk to your provider about finding a way to lower your dose safely if this is a problem for you.
- Taking Fioricet can increase your risk of headaches: Taking Fioricet frequently can cause a different sort of headache, called a medication-overuse headache. Also, when the caffeine in Fioricet wears off, some people get a rebound headache.
- Too much Fioricet can damage your liver: The acetaminophen ingredient in Fioricet can cause damage to your liver if you take it too often. If you already have liver problems you should avoid Fioricet.
- Fioricet is not a good choice for pregnant or nursing women: If you take Fioricet while you are pregnant, your newborn baby could experience withdrawal symptoms after they are born. Acetaminophen and caffeine carry their own risks during pregnancy. In addition, all three ingredients can be passed through the breastmilk to infants who are nursing. Fortunately, there are other medications you can take if you are pregnant or nursing and need treatment for your migraines.
When should you take Fioricet for migraine?
Fioricet is best when it is used for tension-type headaches, which are different from migraines.
Tension-type headaches, which are also known as muscle contraction headaches, usually feel like a steady tightness on both sides of the head. They don’t cause nausea or vomiting and don’t get worse with movement. Unlike migraines, tension-type headaches also don’t usually get worse with bright lights or loud sounds.
For migraines, safer and more effective medications are available (see next section). If nothing else works for you, Fioricet can be a back-up option.
Regardless of why you are taking it, Fioricet should only be used occasionally.