butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine (Alagesic LQ, Capacet, Dolgic Plus, Esgic, Fioricet, and Others)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

What is narcotic analgesic-apap-caffeine-butalbital-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine is a combination product used for treating headache.

Butalbital is a narcotic that depresses the central nervous system.

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. It is the active compound in Tylenol. Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold, that is, by requiring a greater amount of pain to develop before a person feels it. It reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center of the brain. Specifically, it tells the center to lower the body's temperature when the temperature is elevated.

Caffeine has pain relieving properties and may boost the action of other pain relievers by mechanisms that are not well understood. It may reduce the activity of pain sensing nerves in the brain. The FDA approved butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine in November 1984.

Patients taking combination drugs of butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine should review the patient safety information such as specific side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety for each of these drugs.

What brand names are available for narcotic analgesic-apap-caffeine-butalbital-oral?

Alagesic LQ, Capacet, Dolgic Plus, Esgic, Esgic-Plus, Fioricet, Dolgic LQ, Ezol, Geone, Margesic, Nonbac, Orbivan, Repan, Zebutal

Is narcotic analgesic-apap-caffeine-butalbital-oral available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for narcotic analgesic-apap-caffeine-butalbital-oral?

Yes

What are the side effects of narcotic analgesic-apap-caffeine-butalbital-oral?

Side effects of butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine are lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, dry mouth, increase heart rate, and tremors.

Butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine has a boxed warning of liver toxicity if used in excessive amounts for prolonged periods. Acetaminophen dosage should not exceed 4000 mg per day to avoid acute liver injury. Butalbital is habit forming and may be abused.

Tolerance, dependence, and physical dependence may occur after prolonged periods of use of barbiturates (butalbital).

This product is contraindicated in patients who have hypersensitivity to any of its compounds and in patients with porphyria.

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