4 Facts About Butalbital Addiction

Butalbital Addiction: Butalbital Side Effects and Recovery

Whenever a patient is prescribed a medication, there is an inherent risk of addiction. This is an unfortunate reality in current medical treatments, and few drugs make this more evident than Butalbital. Unlike opioids and amphetamines, Butalbital has not had the same constant news coverage and educational public service announcements since it’s inception, so many patients aren’t aware that they are taking a highly addictive substance before it is already too late. In fact, many people still ask is Butalbital a narcotic. For these reasons, it’s important that patients be made aware of the risks associated with butalbital addiction before they take the medication.

Below are 4 facts about butalbital addiction to help you better understand this drug and its addictive properties:

#4 Is Butalbital a Narcotic?

Butalbital belongs to a class of drugs known as barbiturates that are central nervous system depressants, and despite what many people seem to think: it is a narcotic. Typically, Butalbital is combined with caffeine and either aspirin or acetaminophen, and commonly marketed under the names of Fiorinal and Fioricet. There have also been a number of cases in which codeine was used in addition to these ingredients as well.

These medicines alone may not seem inherently strong or dangerous, but when they are combined together they present a much greater risk of Butalbital addiction, as well as a number of health risks. Typically speaking, a Butalbital addiction can be formed within two weeks of habitual use, but this varies person to person. Medications that contain Butalbital should only be taken as prescribed, and for short periods of time.

#3 Butalbital Side Effects

Like most narcotics, Butalbital comes with it’s own extensive list of side effects and symptoms. Typically, the desired effect, and one of the reasons Butalbital addiction is so common, is one of relaxation. In fact, Butalbital is normal prescribed to treat ailments like anxiety, insomnia, and other uncomfortable conditions. While these effects are rather positive, there are a number of negative Butalbital side effects that can present themselves when addiction and recreational use come into the mix.

Some of the Butalbital side effects use include:

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

#2 Warning Signs of Butalbital Addiction

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.

#1 Withdrawal Symptoms and Recovery

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.

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.