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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Fiorinal

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Fiorinal [posted 1/14/99]
Question: I am interested in more information on fiorinal. Please forward any information, such as side effects, dosages, etc.

Answer: Fiorinal is a combination of butalbital, aspirin and caffeine. Aspirin and caffeine are familiar to most, so I'll focus on butalbital. Butalbital is a barbiturate, a drug class used for seizures and sedation. In this medication, it is used for sedation and possibly muscle relaxation. It should be used with caution in patients with liver or renal impairment. Side effects are mainly decreased mental focusing, drowsiness, and vertigo. Occasional patients will experience very distinct reactions to aspirin, which is a separate problem. Barbiturates are potentially habit forming and should be avoided with alcohol.

Question: Can this drug be used as a muscle relaxer?

Answer: Usually as a pain relief rather than a muscle relaxant. The muscles may relax somewhat if the pain is removed.

Question: I am a liver transplant recipient and suffer from headaches. Will fiorinal harm the liver?

Answer: In larger doses over time yes. In small doses for limited time generally no.

Question: My husband brought back some fiorinal for me from Mexico but they don't look like what I get from the drug store. On the bottle it says butabital 50 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg, and caffeine 40 mg tablets. They are a round scored tablet , with OHM across the top and 011 across the bottom. They were made by Halsey Drug Co. Inc. and distributed by Moore Drug Exchange. Are they safe to take?

Answer: Fiorinal is a brand name of Sandoz. The formulation of Fiorinal is butabital 50 mg, caffeine 40 mg, and aspirin 325 mg. Your pills are a generic form of "Fiorinal".

Side Effects
Question: What are some of the symptoms or side effects of the medication Fiorinal? Does it impedes a man sex drive? I have tried this for my migraine, but the caffeine keeps me awake and I can't sleep at night. Why is there caffeine in this medication?

Answer: Fiorinal is a combination of butalbital(a short acting barbiturate) aspirin and caffeine. Caffeine is used since it appears to help migraine headaches as well as potentate the effects of aspirin. Any drug can suppress sex drive; but, this isn't a major side effect.

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