What are the Risks and Warnings for Fioricet?

Fioricet can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options

Liver damage

  • Risk factors: Drinking alcohol | Taking other medications containing acetaminophen | Taking too much Fioricet | History of liver problems

Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage that can be permanent and life-threatening. For adults, the maximum amount of acetaminophen is 3 or 4 grams in a 24-hour period, depending on your provider’s instructions.

Speak to your provider before using Fioricet if you have liver problems since it can cause further damage to your liver. Also, avoid drinking alcohol while taking Fioricet because this combination can harm your liver too.

Signs of liver problems include dark urine, feeling tired, upset stomach or stomach pain, or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your provider right away.

Difficulty concentrating and extreme sleepiness

  • Risk factors: Taking high doses of Fioricet | Age 65 years or older | Drinking alcohol | Taking other medications that can cause sleepiness

Fioricet can cause extreme sleepiness and lower your ability to think, react, and focus. Don’t drink alcohol or take other medications that can cause sleepiness or “brain fog”, such as pain medications or antidepressants, with Fioricet. Doing so can worsen these side effects. Make sure you know how this medication affects you before driving a car or doing activities that require your concentration. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you feel too sleepy from taking Fioricet.

Serious skin or allergic reactions

  • Risk factors: History of serious skin reactions | Allergy to acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Fioricet contains acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can rarely cause life-threatening skin reactions and allergic reactions. If you’re allergic to acetaminophen, don’t take Fioricet. If you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as swelling of the face, mouth, or throat, trouble breathing, itchy red rash (hives), or vomiting, stop taking Fioricet and call for emergency medical help right away. If you develop symptoms of a skin reaction, such as a reddening or peeling of the skin, painful rash, or fluid-filled blisters, stop taking Fioricet and go to the emergency room right away.

Misuse, dependence, and withdrawal

  • Risk factors: Taking Fioricet longer than prescribed | Taking higher doses of Fioricet than prescribed | Taking Fioricet more often than prescribed

Fioricet contains butalbital, which can be habit-forming. Misuse of Fioricet can lead to dependence, accidental overdose, and even death. Doing so can also cause withdrawal symptoms, like seizures, restlessness, trouble sleeping, and shakiness, if you lower your dose or stop taking the medication suddenly. To lower the risk of physical dependence, don’t take Fioricet longer than prescribed, at higher doses than prescribed, or more often than prescribed.

Call for emergency medical help if you have any symptoms of taking too much butalbital, including sleepiness, trouble breathing, dizziness, confusion, or loss of consciousness. If you no longer want to take Fioricet, talk to your healthcare provider so they can instruct you on how to stop taking the medication safely. Speak to your healthcare provider about alternative treatments if you have concerns about taking Fioricet.