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Side Effects
Serious

Shallow breathing, dizziness, weakness, confusion, blood in urine or stools, unusual bleeding or bruising, bleeding or crusting sores on lips, hives, muscle cramps, chest pain, white spots on the tongue, sore throat, pinpoint red spots on skin, fever, itchiness, rash, persistent or recurrent pain before next scheduled dose, swollen or painful glands, vomiting, yellow discoloration of skin or gums. Also swelling of the eyelids, lips, tongue, or face; red, thickened, or scaly skin. Call your physician immediately.
Common

Abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, mild stomach pain, lightheadedness, drowsiness.
Less Common

Mental depression.
Butalbital/Acetaminophen/Caffeine


Drug Class:
Nonnarcotic analgesic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Fioricet 50/325/40 mg
(Novartis)
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 headaches when nonprescription pain relievers are 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.

Range and Frequency
1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. If your medication contains 325 or 500 mg of acetaminophen per capsule or tablet, do not take more than 6 pills a day. If your medication contains 650 mg of acetaminophen per capsule or tablet, do not take more than 4 pills a day.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Up to 4 hours.

Dietary Advice
Take this medicine with milk or meals to minimize stomach upset.

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 medication 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
You should 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 medication should never be stopped abruptly after long-term regular use.

Prolonged Use
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
The use of this medicine may impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol.

Pregnancy
Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
This medicine passes into breast milk; do not use while breast feeding.

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

Special Concerns
The medicine works best if you take it at the first sign of a headache. Do not take the medicine if it has a strong vinegary odor. If you do not feel better 1 hour after taking this medication, call your doctor. Do not take a larger dose.

Overdose Symptoms
Difficulty breathing, excessive perspiration, impaired mental state, loss of consciousness, agitation or nervousness.

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 antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, muscle relaxants, other narcotic pain relievers, sleep medications, tranquilizers, or anticoagulants.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: asthma, mental depression, heart disease, a blood dis-order, an overactive thyroid gland, a kidney or liver dis-order, or a history of alcoholism or drug abuse.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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