Butalbital is a barbiturate. It is widely used in the treatment of migraines, tension headaches etc. It helps to ease muscle contractions and relaxes tense muscles. Thus it plays a very important role in relieving tension headaches.
Caffeine acts as a stimulant to your central nervous system. It helps relax the contractions of the muscles in walls of blood vessels. Once the muscles of the walls relax, the blood vessels can dilate and this improves blood flow to the part or organ it supplies.
Acetaminophen or APAP is commonly used to bring down fevers. It is also used effectively as a pain killer.
These three compounds form Butalbital APAP caffeine and are used in combination widely to treat tension headaches. If you suffer from severe and frequent attacks of headaches your doctor might prescribe this combination therapy for you. It not only helps decrease the intensity of your headache but decreases the frequency and intensity of your headaches in the long run.
Butalbital is a barbiturate and is a habit forming drug. Hence you must take it only if your doctor has prescribed it for you and in the exact dosage prescribed to you. Do not share this medication with anyone else at home. Keep out of the reach of children.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you must avoid taking this medication. People suffering from porphyrias are also not advised to take butalbital, acetaminophen or caffeine.
People over the age of 65 years having other co-morbid diseases must start using this drug in small dosages and then increase the dosage slowly.
If you are suffering from kidney disease, it might not be advisable for you to consume Butalbital. This drug is excreted mainly through your kidneys. And people with altered renal function run a risk of worsening their kidney dysfunction with the use of this drug. Butalbital is known to cross the placental barrier and can have deleterious effects on the fetus. Hence it is not advisable to be used in pregnant women. Acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine are secreted into the breast milk, hence must be used carefully in lactating women.
You must keep in mind that when you visit your doctor for headaches, you must provide him with a detailed history of the other diseases you are suffering form, drug allergies which you have had in the past and the medications you are already taking.
Acetaminophen in large doses is known to cause acute liver failure, which may cause instant death. Hence do not exceed the dosages prescribed for you, as it is a drug toxic to your liver. Similarly you must avoid alcohol consumption when you are taking acetaminophen. Alcohol damages your liver and a combination of alcohol along with APAP increases the chances of liver damage by three folds.
Some of you might be allergic to this combination. If is difficult to predict in advance whether or not you will suffer from an allergic reaction but it is best that you are vigilant. Hence if you suffer from symptoms like rashes over your body, hives, swelling of your face, tongue, lips, throat, or difficulty in breathing after taking the medication, you must stop it immediately and report to your doctor immediately.
Almost every medicine which has an effect produces some side effects. This holds true for the Butalbital APAP Caffeine combination as well.
Most adults tolerate the drug quite well. Some might suffer from side effects such as:
This medication must be taken in the exact dosage prescribed by your physician. Avoid taking it in larger dosages than that prescribed. You can take the medicine after food or with milk. Store your medication at room temperature; keep it away from moisture and heat. Keep it away from the reach of children. Avoid an overdose of acetaminophen, as it is toxic to your liver. The maximum amount of acetaminophen for adults is 1 gram per dose and maximum 4 grams per day.
Most of you would be advised to take this medication as and when required. However if you are advised to take it regularly, you may take the dose that you missed as soon as you remember. If it is already time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and just take your next regular dose. If you have accidentally overdosed on this medication you may complain of symptoms like insomnia, tremors, restlessness, fast pulse rate, palpitations, increased sweating, breathlessness etc. you must seek immediate medical attention.
If you are using any medication containing and MAO inhibitor such as rasagiline, selegiline, phenelzine, tranylcypromine or isocarboxazid or have consumed either of them in the past 14 days, you must avoid taking Butalbital, acetaminophen or caffeine. These medications have drug interactions, and may cause serious, fatal side effects. Once the MAO inhibitor has been cleared from your body, only then is it safe for you to consume Butalbital, acetaminophen and caffeine combination.
To avoid overdosing on APAP, use the combination in the dosages prescribed by your doctor. Also avoid taking any other cold, pain, or allergy medications without the advice of your doctor, as most of them contain some amount of acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine have drug interactions with certain antibiotics, zidovudine, isoniazid, warfarin, phenytoin, Phenobarbital, steroids like prednisone, fluticasone, dexamethasone and antidepressant medications like amitriptyline etc.