With many drugs, there are various interactions and also a warning that people shouldn’t drink alcohol, and Fioricet is one of those drugs.
The following provides an overview of what Fioricet is, and why the combination of Fioricet and alcohol is not a safe one.
What Is Fioricet?
Fioricet is a prescription drug that’s available and approved for the treatment of headaches. It’s specifically intended to treat certain tension headaches including headaches that stem from muscle contractions. Fioricet can be useful in the treatment of pain that ranges from mild to moderate, and it was first approved by the FDA is 1984. It is currently available as a genic drug by several manufacturers, as well as under the brand name Fioricet.
Fioricet contains three primary ingredients that are used to fight headache pain. It contains butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine.
Butalbital is a barbiturate which means that it acts somewhat like a muscle relaxant, and that’s why it can be helpful specifically for the treatment of tension headaches. Fioricet also contains acetaminophen which is the generic name of a pain reliever available in Tylenol. The caffeine component of Fioricet can help blood flow in constricted blood vessels, so it really can help treat headache pain in three different ways.
Fioricet can also be formulated with codeine. In these formulations, the other drugs are the same, but there is 30 mg of codeine included as well. Codeine is an opioid narcotic.
Some people say that when they take Fioricet, it creates a high feeling, particularly when they take larger doses. There is also a warning of potential abuse and addiction that comes with the use of this prescription headache treatment.
So what about mixing Fioricet and alcohol? Why is it particularly problematic?
The first reason it’s not good to mix Fioricet and alcohol is because of the butalbital it contains. This barbiturate is a central nervous system depressant, and it slows down some of the life-sustaining functions of the person who uses it, including respiration. If you mix this with alcohol, which is also a depressant, it increases the chances an overdose occurring.
Barbiturates are particularly difficult to gauge when it comes to safety and overdose potential because there’s often a very small differential between a safe dosage and a fatal one.
When you mix Fioricet with alcohol, it can also just heighten the effects of the butalbital and make you feel confused or like you’re mentally clouded. Fioricet on its own has the potential to make people feel intoxicated, and this is further amplified when it’s mixed with alcohol.
When you drink with butalbital, it can cause symptoms including excessive dizziness and drowsiness. It can become problematic for people to drive or do other daily functions when they combine alcohol and Fioricet as well.
Another reason the combination of Fioricet and alcohol is never seen as acceptable is because of the acetaminophen it contains. Acetaminophen may be available over the counter, and it’s not habit-forming, but it’s not without risk. Acetaminophen has been linked to liver injury and failure in people, generally when they take more than 4000 mg in a day. It can also be dangerous in people who have liver or kidney functionality problems or underlying liver disease.
Alcohol is also linked to liver damage, so if someone pairs both alcohol and acetaminophen it can lead to acute liver failure or eventual liver disease. Basically you’re just amplifying the potential for liver problems that can be fatal. Studies have shown that when people combine alcohol and acetaminophen, a significant amount have liver problems as a result.
Other drug interactions that are possible with Fioricet include any drugs that impact liver enzymes, darunavir, fluvoxamine, MAO inhibitors, and several others.
So is it safe to take Fioricet and alcohol together? While your first resource should always be your physician, in short, the answer is no. Alcohol, when combined with major ingredients in Fioricet, can be dangerous or deadly. First of all combining alcohol with butalbital can lead to symptoms like excessive tiredness or dizziness, and it can cause you to feel very intoxicated. When alcohol is combined with acetaminophen, it can damage your liver, lead to the need for a liver transplant or cause death.
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