What is Fioricet Used For?
If you have ever experienced a migraine, you know the level of misery it can bring. Migraines go well beyond the pain or pressure of a typical headache, and they’re often accompanied by symptoms that can range to uncomfortable to scary. When you have a migraine doctors believe it’s something different from just a bad headache. Instead of being related to blood vessels, doctors believe that a lot of what causes migraines has to do with neurological things like brain chemicals.
With that being said, people who suffer from migraines often search for treatments that will work for them, and they also tend to have to go through several different medications before they get to one that will work for them.
One medication people sometimes consider is Fioricet, but doctors warn this should be a last resort for migraines, and there’s some debate over whether or not it works at all for migraine sufferers.
Fioricet is a prescription medicine that’s used to relieve tension headaches primarily because it relaxes the muscle contractions that cause head pain, ranging in severity from mild to moderate in most cases.
A tension headache is different from a migraine because as was touched on above, it’s believed that migraines stem from neurological issues, whereas a tension headache is often the result of triggers like stress, bad posture, or tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Tension headaches don’t necessarily affect your vision, strength or balance, but a true migraine can affect all of these things. Migraines can also cause nausea and vomiting.
Additionally, tension headaches don’t have a genetic component, whereas migraines often run in families.
All of these distinctions are important to recognize when considering what Fioricet is used for, and why it’s not necessarily the best treatment option for migraines.
Fioricet contains three primary ingredients which are butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine.
Butalbital is a barbiturate, and it can relieve muscular tension by acting as somewhat of a muscle relaxant, and it can also relieve pain because it acts on the central nervous system. Along with releasing muscle contractions, butalbital can also create a sense of relaxation and relieve symptoms of anxiety. The acetaminophen acts as a pain reliever, and the caffeine can open up the flow of blood through blood vessels, which is thought to help with some headache pain.
So, with all that being said, people wonder if Fioricet is used for headaches, can it also be used for migraines?
In some cases, Fioricet may be used as a migraine treatment, but it’s not a first or even second choice among physicians. There are a few reasons. First, as was touched on above, Fioricet is primarily used for the treatment of tension headaches, which are very different from migraines. A lot of doctors feel that Fioricet doesn’t even necessarily work on migraine pain. There are a lot of other treatment options that are more specifically for the treatment of migraines, and they work in ways that are different from Fioricet.
According to the FDA, Fioricet isn’t approved for the treatment of migraines at all. It may have some benefits for migraine sufferers in that it can provide them with a sense of physiological calmness because of how it works on the central nervous system, but there again are better ways to treat migraines.
Another reason Fioricet isn’t necessarily an ideal migraine treatment is because of the risks that come with it.
Butalbital is a substance that can be habit-forming, and the use of Fioricet has actually led to addiction problems and physical dependence for some of the people who use it. It may be a prescription medicine, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s risk-free.
Another risk associated with the use of Fioricet is the potential for liver toxicity from acetaminophen. Acetaminophen taken in large doses can result in liver injury and failure, and it has to be taken carefully and only as prescribed.
So, to sum up, what is Fioricet used for? The FDA approves the use of this prescription medication for the treatment of tension headaches primarily, as well as something called a post-dural puncture headache, which can occur following something like anesthesia administered in the spine. The FDA doesn’t approve Fioricet for the treatment of migraine headaches, both because it’s not the most effective available treatment option, and also because there are risks that come with the use of Fioricet including addiction, dependence and side effects like potential liver toxicity.
Have more questions about Fioricet abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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