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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Chest pains, muscle or joint pain, sores or ulcers in mouth, swelling of face, lips, or eyelids, yellow discoloration of eyes or skin, sore throat with or without fever. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Drowsiness, dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, constipation, confusion, nausea, and vomiting.
Less Common

Skin rash or hives.
Butalbital/Acetaminophen/Caffeine/Codeine


Drug Class:
Opioid (narcotic) analgesic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Capsules, tablets

Why Prescribed
To treat tension headaches when nonprescription pain relievers prove ineffective.

How It Works
Butalbital, a barbiturate, acts on the central nervous system to cause sedation. Acetaminophen (APAP) appears to interfere with the action of prostaglandins, naturally occurring substances in the body that cause inflammation and make nerves more sensitive to pain impulses. Caffeine, a stimulant, is believed to enhance the effectiveness of pain relievers. Codeine, a narcotic, is believed to block pain signals to the brain and spinal cord.

Range and Frequency
1 or 2 tablets or capsules every 4 hours. Do not take more than 6 pills a day.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
This medication should be taken with food or water.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
If your doctor has directed you to take this drug on a regular schedule, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period, but you may stop taking the drug if you are feeling better before the scheduled end of therapy. This medicine should never be stopped abruptly after long-term regular use.

Prolonged Use
Narcotic drugs, such as codeine, and barbiturates, such as butalbital, can cause physical dependence. Taking too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol.

Pregnancy
Components of this medicine have caused birth defects in animals. Taking the medicine late in pregnancy may cause drug dependence in the unborn child. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast Feeding
Components of this medicine pass into breast milk; avoid or discontinue use while breast feeding.

Infants and Children
Not recommended for use by children under age 12.

Special Concerns
Tell any doctor or dentist whom you consult that you are taking this medicine. It works best if taken at the first sign of a headache. Tell your doctor if you begin having headaches more frequently than before you started using this drug. Check with your doctor if the medicine stops working as well as it did at the outset of therapy. This may be a sign of drug dependence. Do not increase the dose to attain better pain relief.

Overdose Symptoms
Drowsiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, abnormal heartbeat, insomnia, slowed or suppressed breathing, trembling, loss of consciousness.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking beta-blockers, estrogens, felodipine, griseofulvin, nifedipine, theophylline, warfarin, carbamazepine, sulfinpyrazone, tranquilizers, sedatives, or tricyclic antidepressants.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions. A high-fiber diet is recommended because the medicine may cause constipation.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: asthma, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, mental depression, an overactive thyroid, porphyria, heart disease, or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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