Fiorinal is a combination medication that is comprised of aspirin, caffeine, butalbital and sometimes codeine. Fiorinal is used to treat tension headaches which are characterized by a dull and tightening pain around the head.

Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Fiorinal Abuse

Fiorinal is a combination medication which is comprised of aspirin, caffeine, butalbital and sometimes codeine. Fiorinal is used to treat tension headaches which are characterized by a dull and tightening pain around the head. Aspirin works to relieve the pain from a headache. Caffeine enhances the effectiveness of the aspirin by increasing blood flow while butalbital weakens the contractions that occur during a tension headache. Fiorinal with codeine is used when tension headaches are more severe and happen frequently.

Fiorinal may become habit-forming due to the euphoric effects caused by codeine and butalbital.

What Is Fiorinal?

As previously mentioned, Fiorinal is a medication used to treat tension headaches. Fiorinal contains aspirin, caffeine, butalbital and sometimes codeine. The combination of each drug component within Fiorinal is a relaxant and pain reliever.

When a person has a prescription for Fiorinal, it is important for them to follow the directions carefully since butalbital and codeine do have a risk for abuse. Butalbital is a barbiturate, which is a central nervous system depressant. Barbiturates bind to nerve receptors and, by doing so, cause muscle relaxation and slow the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever that binds to nerve receptors which affect pain signals. Both drugs can provide a powerful euphoric effect and each one alone has a high risk of addiction and dependence. Taking Fiorinal as directed greatly reduces the risk of substance abuse.

Someone taking Fiorinal may experience side effects that include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness (lightheadedness)
  • Drowsiness

Fiorinal may cause severe side effects, although they are rare. Contact a doctor or seek medical attention if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Mental confusion (disorientation)
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Inability to keep balance
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting that looks like coffee grounds
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness

Fiorinal Addiction

Since both codeine and butalbital are habit-forming, a doctor may ask a patient if they have a history of substance abuse in order to avoid the potential for creating a new substance use disorder. If a person begins to misuse or abuse Fiorinal, they may start taking it more frequently to achieve the relaxation feeling it offers instead of pain relief. Once these cravings occur, a person struggling with Fiorinal abuse develops a tolerance and they need to take it in higher doses to achieve the same results –resulting in addiction and dependence.

If someone who is struggling with addiction suddenly stops taking Fiorinal, the absence of the medication leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sweating, shaking (tremors), vomiting and insomnia.

Overdosing from Fiorinal is possible since both codeine and butalbital slow the heart rate.

Fiorinal Long-Term Effects

A person who misuses Fiorinal for a long period of time has an increased risk of withdrawal symptoms. Developing a safe plan for detoxification is crucial for recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, The Recovery Village is here to help. We have many rehabilitation centers across the country with great treatment plans that can meet your needs. For more information, visit our website at The Recovery Village or call our toll-free 24/7 hotline at 855-548-9825 to speak with a representative.

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.