Often there are prescription drugs that are actually combinations of several drugs. One such example of a combination drug is called Fioricet with codeine. This drug is a combination of not just codeine, but also butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine. This is therapeutically defined as an opioid/barbiturate combination, and it’s available for oral use. Fioricet with codeine is prescribed to help with the symptoms of tension headaches or headaches caused by muscle contraction.

Is Fioricet Available without Codeine?

Before going into the specifics of the Fioricet with Codeine combination, you may be wondering is Fioricet available without codeine? The answer is yes.

There is a combination drug that includes the same active ingredients, just with the exception of the codeine. This drug is approved by the FDA to treat three specific headache types which are muscle contraction, post-dural puncture, and tension. It’s not approved by the FDA to treat migraines, but it is often prescribed by physicians for that reason.

The butalbital in Fioricet is a barbiturate which can lead to a sense of relaxation and in some people, particularly when higher doses are taken, a Fioricet high may even be felt. The acetaminophen is a pain reliever, and the caffeine can help improve blood flow through vessels which can improve headache pain and symptoms.

Many people rely on Fioricet when they have a headache, but it does have the potential for abuse and addiction, which is something people may not be aware of. This risk is heightened by the use of Fioricet with codeine.

What Is in the Fioricet with Codeine Combination?

The following is an overview of what’s in Fioricet with codeine:

  • A capsule contains 50 mg of butalbital which is a short-to-intermediate acting barbiturate.
  • It contains 300 mg of acetaminophen, which is the generic name for the over-the-counter pain reliever found in medicines like Tylenol. Acetaminophen can also act as a pain reliever.
  • Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and Fioricet with codeine contains 40 mg of caffeine in a capsule.
  • This drug also contains 30 mg of codeine, which is both a narcotic analgesic and an antitussive.

Each of the above ingredients is an active ingredient in this prescription drug.

Again, Fioricet with codeine is intended to treat the symptoms of a tension headache, which essentially means a headache resulting from muscle contraction. The dosage instructions of Fioricet with codeine usually indicate someone takes one or two capsules every four hours, with a total daily dosage of no more than six capsules.

The common potential side effects of Fioricet with codeine include drowsiness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and feeling intoxicated.

There can also be some less common but more serious side effects of Fioricet with codeine. The side effects related to the central nervous system include agitation, headache, shakiness, fatigue, high or low energy, numbness, hot flashes or fainting. In some cases confusion, excitement or depression can also occur. These side effects are the result of the butalbital and the codeine, both of which impact the central nervous system.

Other serious side effects that can result from the use of Fioricet with codeine include gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, dry mouth, and tachycardia.

Fioricet with Codeine Abuse

Even without codeine, there is a potential for abuse with the use of Fioricet. Some people experience euphoria or deep relaxation when they use it, and the barbiturate element of this drug can lend to abuse and addiction.

Makers of the drug and the FDA warn that with the use of barbiturates, particularly when that use is prolonged, a tolerance may develop and that can lead to a person taking higher doses to maintain the same effect. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly dangerous because the difference between a safe amount of a barbiturate and a fatal amount is very small and hard to discern.

With the addition of codeine, this risk is amplified. Codeine is an opioid so it can produce a drug dependence as well. This can include both a physical and psychological dependence, and people should be incredibly cautious when they’re using this drug.

It should also be noted that along with the potential for dependence, addiction, and overdose, there is the risk of liver injury or failure with Fioricet with codeine because it contains acetaminophen.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.