Fioricet Overdose and Fioricet Overdose Treatment

Fioricet is FDA-approved to treat tension headaches and is prescribed off-label to treat migraines. Fioricet, like all barbiturates, is associated with a high risk of developing dependence and addiction. Even a few Fioricet pills can cause overdose symptoms, and Fioricet overdose is a medical emergency. If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately.

How Do Overdoses Occur?

Barbiturates are common drugs of misuse. People who have experienced a “Fioricet high” describe it as feeling “goofy” or “loopy.” Misuse of barbiturates, including Fioricet, is incredibly dangerous. Barbiturates are considered sedative-hypnotics that rapidly induce tolerance, meaning that higher doses of the drug are required to achieve the same effect. Tolerance is quickly followed by dependency and addiction. When Fioricet is co-used with other drugs or alcohol, the sedative-hypnotic effect increases and can quickly lead to respiratory depression, coma and even death.

The most dangerous component of Fioricet is the barbiturate butalbital. Fioricet pills contain 50 mg butalbital, and 1 g (20 pills) is considered a toxic dose for adults. In addition, each pill contains 325 mg acetaminophen and 40 mg caffeine. Toxic doses for these drugs are 30 tablets (10 g) and 25 tablets (1 g), respectively. The half-life of Fioricet is 35 hours, so multiple doses over the course of a few days can lead to a toxic buildup of these compounds.

Most Fioricet overdoses are associated with co-use of other drugs or alcohol, but it can be easy to overdose on Fioricet alone. Tension headaches are often treated with a prescription of six tablets per day, which is over 25% of the toxic dose. People who are struggling with severe tension headache pain may be predisposed to overdose in an attempt to ease their pain. People who take Fioricet for headaches may experience medication overuse headaches, or “rebound headaches.” Rebound headaches are as painful as a tension headache but do not respond to additional medication.

Fioricet should be used rarely, as directed and with extreme caution. Never use Fioricet if you have not been prescribed the medication, and do not share your prescription.

Fioricet Overdose Signs and Symptoms

Fioricet overdose symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Hypotension
  • Respiratory depression, which can lead to coma and death
  • Potentially lethal hypovolemic shock (loss of blood flow), in extreme cases

Because Fioricet also has acetaminophen and caffeine, it is possible to overdose on these drugs as well. Acetaminophen overdose can cause liver failure, which causes symptoms of nausea, vomiting, lethargy and excessive sweating. Caffeine overdose can lead to insomnia, tremor, delirium and heart palpitations.

What Happens if You Overdose on Fioricet?

If Fioricet was the only drug consumed and the user is awake and alert, vomiting should be induced. However, many Fioricet overdoses are associated with other drugs or alcohol. Polysubstance overdoses are very dangerous, and treatment is dependent on the combination of drugs used.

Fioricet overdose is a potentially deadly medical emergency that must be treated by medical professionals. If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately.

Fioricet Overdose Deaths

Barbiturates were commonly prescribed in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, benzodiazepines have mostly replaced barbiturate prescriptions because they are much safer. Because of the reduction in prescription frequency, barbiturate overdose deaths are relatively rare today.

Statistics specific to barbiturate deaths are not readily available. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, however, the sedative/hypnotic/antipsychotic drug class (which includes barbiturates) was the fourth leading cause of poisoning in 2017. This drug class was responsible for 5.7% of poisonings, with nearly 150,000 exposures being reported. Some barbiturate deaths are purposeful, including suicide and capital punishment by lethal injection.

Fioricet Overdose Treatment

Fioricet overdose is a medical emergency that must be addressed by medical professionals. Because Fioricet overdose is often associated with respiratory depression, the first thing EMTs or doctors will do is ensure that the patient is able to breathe. Oxygen may be administered, and extreme cases may call for assisted or controlled ventilation. Intravenous fluids will typically be administered to prevent hypovolemic shock. In some cases, activated charcoal will be given to prevent acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity (liver failure).

If other drugs (particularly opioids) were also used, emergency protocols must take them into account. Barbiturate overdose treatment must be done by medical professionals.

Fioricet Overdose Prevention

The best way to prevent Fioricet overdose is to not use the drug. If you are prescribed Fioricet by your doctor, take it as prescribed. It should be used rarely and with caution. As with all barbiturates, Fioricet should never be taken daily.

Common side effects of Fioricet include dizziness and mild lethargy. If you (or someone else) have taken Fioricet as prescribed and are concerned with how you feel, call 911.

Barbiturate addiction can be extremely challenging to overcome. If you or a loved one is facing Fioricet dependency or addiction, The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help. Our multidisciplinary team is equipped to help you with the physical and psychological aspects of Fioricet detox and withdrawal. Our residential and outpatient programs have been successful in helping people overcome barbiturate addiction. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

What is the Side Effects of Fioricet ?

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

    1. Lightheadedness
    2. shortness of breath

Incidence not known

    1. Abdominal or stomach pain
    2. black, tarry stools
    3. bleeding gums
    4. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
    5. blood in the urine or stools
    6. blurred vision
    7. change in the frequency of urination or amount of urine
    8. chills
    9. cough
    10. diarrhea
    11. difficulty with breathing
    12. difficulty with swallowing
    13. dizziness
    14. drowsiness
    15. dry mouth
    16. fainting
    17. fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
    18. flushed or dry skin
    19. fruit-like breath odor
    20. hives, itching, or skin rash
    21. increased hunger
    22. increased thirst
    23. increased urination
    24. joint or muscle pain
    25. loss of appetite
    26. nausea or vomiting
    27. pinpoint red spots on the skin
    28. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
    29. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
    30. red, irritated eyes
    31. seizures
    32. shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
    33. sore throat
    34. sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
    35. sweating
    36. swelling of the feet or lower legs
    37. tightness in the chest
    38. trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
    39. troubled breathing
    40. unexplained weight loss
    41. unusual bleeding or bruising
    42. unusual tiredness or weakness
    43. weakness

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

    1. Confusion as to time, place, or person
    2. dark urine
    3. difficult or painful urination
    4. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
    5. fever
    6. general feeling of discomfort or illness
    7. hallucinations
    8. headache
    9. holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
    10. increased sweating
    11. irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
    12. light-colored stools
    13. loss of appetite
    14. pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
    15. restlessness
    16. sudden decrease in the amount of urine
    17. sweating
    18. trouble sleeping
    19. unpleasant breath odor
    20. unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
    21. vomiting of blood
    22. yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

    1. Relaxed and calm
    2. sleepiness

Incidence not known

    1. Anxiety
    2. bloated
    3. constipation
    4. continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
    5. depression
    6. earache
    7. excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
    8. false or unusual sense of well-being
    9. full feeling
    10. hearing loss
    11. heartburn
    12. heavy eyelids
    13. high energy
    14. hot spells
    15. hyperventilation
    16. irritability
    17. numbness
    18. pain in the leg
    19. passing gas
    20. sluggishness
    21. stuffy nose
    22. tingling sensation

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.