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Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine)

Butalbital 50/325/40 mg
  • Generic name: Butalbital/Acetaminophen/Caffeine
  • Trade names: Alagesic, Amaphen, Americet, Anolor, Anoquan, Arcet, Butace, Endolor, Esgic, Esgic Plus, Ezol, Fioricet, Medigesic, Pacaps, Repan, Tencet, Zebutal.
  • Class: Combined Analgesic
    Butalbital - barbiturate
    Acetaminophen - analgesic, fever reducer
    Caffeine - Stimulant
  • Dosages: 50/325/40 mg tablets

Butalbital APAP Caffeine Uses

Fioricet (butalbital 50 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg, caffeine 40 mg) is a prescription pain reliever and sedative. Acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Butalbital is a barbiturate that slows down central nervous system causing relaxation. Caffeine is a stimulant believed to constrict dilated blood vessels that may contribute to tension headaches.

Fioricet is used to relieve complex tension headaches and migraines.

Butalbital APAP to relieve headaches

Almost 90% of headaches result from increased tension in the scalp and neck. Tension headaches (previously called muscle contraction or stress headaches) are usually described as a vise squeezing on both sides of the head or a tight band around the head. The pain can spread to the scalp, face, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Depending on the frequency, tension headaches may be chronic and episodic. Chronic tension headaches occur daily or almost every day, episodic tension headaches occur only a few times a week or month. Individuals who chronically have tension headaches often suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression as well.

Fioricet works best if you take it as soon as you feel a headache coming on. Most tension headaches go away within a few hours.

Fioricet is also used to relieve migraines. Many migraineurs find Fioricet useful when it is taken before lying down in a dark room.


Barbiturates, including butalbital, can produce intoxication, hangover, tolerance, and dependence. Butalbital-containing analgesics can produce rebound (analgesic overuse) headaches.

The pros and cons of Caffeine

Caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter headache medications. Caffeine has analgesic properties and, used carefully, can be very effective remedy. Some analgesics work more quickly and more efficiently in combination with caffeine. In fact, caffeine additives make analgesics 40 percent more effective.

However, caffeine-containing medications combined with caffeine from other sources, make you more vulnerable to a rebound headache, a condition that develops from the overuse of medication.

Fioricet alternatives

Butalbital/Aspirin/Caffeine (Fiorinal) is used to relieve tension headaches.

Acetaminophen/Caffeine (Excedrin) relieves head, neck, and shoulder pain associated with tension-type headaches.

Acetaminophen/Phenyltoloxamine (Percogesic), available over-the-counter, contains an antihistamine phenyltoloxamine.

Feverfew is the best studied herbal remedy for headaches. Feverfew has shown value in preventing and treating migraine headaches and may also be helpful in cluster and menstrual headaches.


  • Analgesics with barbiturates are banned in Germany because of their potential for abuse.
  • Fioricet is a strong, non-narcotic pain reliever, which combines a sedative barbiturate, a non-aspirin pain reliever (acetaminophen), and caffeine.
  • Butalbital APAP w/Caffeine may also relieve other types of pain, such as shoulder and upper back pain.
  • This combined pain reliever is prescribed for difficult to treat tension headaches and migraines.

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