Butalbital Addiction Signs

Are you or a loved one becoming addicted to Butalbital? Learn the Butalbital addiction signs that can indicate there is a problem

If you or a loved one has been prescribed Butalbital, there is a significant chance that you could become addicted to the medication. Butalbital is a highly addictive barbiturate medication that is used to treat migraines. Butalbital addiction can occur within two weeks of beginning use, and becomes harder to overcome the longer it continues. For that reason, patients should be aware of Butalbital addiction signs before they take the first dose.

Butalbital facts

Butalbital belongs to a class of drugs known as barbiturates that are central nervous system depressants. It is typically combined with caffeine and either aspirin or acetaminophen, and commonly marketed under the names of Fiorinal and Fioricet. Occasionally codeine is added to the mix. While this combination of medicines is able to tame migraines that do not respond to other treatments, combining the medications increases the chance of physical dependence, even when taken exactly as prescribed. Combining an analgesic and caffeine with Butalbital makes the medication so extremely addictive that users can develop signs of dependence within just two weeks of use. Because of this high potential for addiction, medications containing Butalbital should only be used intermittently and taken for short periods of time.

Butalbital side effects

Butalbital and other barbiturates cause feeling of sedation and relaxation that can be useful in treating anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and certain other conditions. Barbiturates effects can also be less positive. Some of the side effects of barbiturate use include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • anxiety or nervousness
  • constipation
  • feelings of intoxication or euphoria
  • headache
  • irritability
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sleep disturbances

Butalbital addiction signs

Butalbital addiction develops extremely rapidly once patients begin to take Fiorinal or Fioricet. When individuals first take medications with Butalbital, it relieves headache symptoms at once. Patients may also experience a feeling of sedation and euphoria along with the cessation of pain. Once they take the medication several times, it becomes less effective at curing the headache, and patients need to take a larger dose in order to get any relief. Within two weeks of the first dose of a Butalbital-based medication, patients may experience a blinding headache, hand tremors, and insomnia as soon as their last dose of the medication begins to wear off. These symptoms can only be relieved by increasingly higher doses of a medication that contains Butalbital. By this time, the patient’s body chemistry has adjusted and he or she literally needs Butalbital in order to function without pain.

Once Butalbital dependence reaches this point, individuals generally display other Butalbital addiction signs, including filling multiple prescriptions, focusing on obtaining more Butalbital above all else, withdrawing from family and friends, and lying or stealing to obtain more medication.

Butalbital withdrawal

Caffeine and Butalbital both cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped, and combining them makes the withdrawal symptoms even more intense. Butalbital withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life threatening, so it is recommended that you only quit Butalbital through a medically supervised detox in an addiction treatment center.  Butalbital withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sweating, severe muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting.  As withdrawal progresses, individuals may experience seizures, hallucinations, delirium, and psychosis. These withdrawal symptoms typically start within twelve to twenty four hours after the last dose of Butalbital, and can continue for sixteen days or longer.

Butalbital addiction treatment

Because Butalbital is so addictive, it is recommended that patients enter a drug addiction treatment program once withdrawal symptoms have subsided. During addiction rehab treatment, patients are taught relapse prevention strategies that can help them withstand the cravings for Butalbital that could cause them to relapse.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.