Fioricet with Codeine

Last reviewed on RxList: 5/3/2021
Fioricet with Codeine Side Effects Center

What Is Fioricet with Codeine?

Fioricet with Codeine (butalbital, acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine phosphate) is a combination of a pain reliever and fever reducer, a barbiturate, a vasoconstrictor, and a narcotic pain reliever (opiate-type) used to relieve complex tension headaches. Fioricet with Codeine is available in generic form.

What Are Side Effects of Fioricet with Codeine?

Common side effects of Fioricet with Codeine include:

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Fioricet with Codeine including:

  • mental/mood changes,
  • fast or irregular heartbeat,
  • increased thirst or urination,
  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat),
  • easy bruising or bleeding, or
  • changes in the amount of urine.

Dosage for Fioricet with Codeine

Dose of Fioricet with Codeine is 1 or 2 capsules every 4 hours. Total daily dosage should not exceed 6 capsules.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Fioricet with Codeine?

Fioricet with Codeine may interact with other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety), glycopyrrolate, mepenzolate, ciprofloxacin, atropine, benztropine, dimenhydrinate, methscopolamine, scopolamine, bladder or urinary medications, bronchodilators, irritable bowel medications, or MAO inhibitors. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking.

Fioricet with Codeine During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, Fioricet with Codeine should be used only when prescribed. Using it near the expected delivery date is not recommended because of possible harm to the fetus. Infants born to mothers who have used this medication may have withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, seizures, or diarrhea. Tell your doctor if you notice symptoms in your newborn. This drug passes into breast milk and could have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding. Butalbital and codeine are both habit-forming and potentially abusable. Withdrawal symptoms may occur when you stop taking this medication.

Additional Information

Our Fioricet with Codeine (butalbital, acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine phosphate) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal, even if you have taken acetaminophen in the past and had no reaction. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling. If you have this type of reaction, you should never again take any medicine that contains acetaminophen.

Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
  • a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
  • extreme drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
  • chest pain, fast or pounding heart rate, feeling short of breath;
  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness; or
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.

Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

Common side effects include:

  • drowsiness, dizziness, feeling "drunk";
  • headache, tiredness; or
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Fioricet with Codeine (Butalbital Acetaminophen Caffeine Capsules)

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Fioricet with Codeine Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The following serious adverse reactions are described, or described in greater detail, in other sections:

  • Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Interactions with Benzodiazepines and other CNS Depressants [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Ultra-Rapid Metabolism of Codeine and Other Risk Factors for Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Children [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hepatotoxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Adrenal Insufficiency [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Severe Hypotension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Seizures [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Withdrawal [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Serious Skin Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Anaphylaxis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

The following adverse reactions associated with the use of butalbital, acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine phosphate were identified in clinical studies or post-marketing reports. Because some of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Frequently Observed

The most frequently reported adverse reactions were drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and intoxicated feeling.

Infrequently Observed

All adverse events tabulated below are classified as infrequent.

Central Nervous: headache, shaky feeling, tingling, agitation, fainting, fatigue, heavy eyelids, high energy, hot spells, numbness, sluggishness, seizure. Mental confusion, excitement or depression can also occur due to intolerance, particularly in elderly or debilitated patients, or due to overdosage of butalbital.

Autonomic Nervous: dry mouth, hyperhidrosis.

Gastrointestinal: difficulty swallowing, heartburn, flatulence, constipation.

Cardiovascular: tachycardia.

Musculoskeletal: leg pain, muscle fatigue.

Genitourinary: diuresis.

Miscellaneous: pruritus, fever, earache, nasal congestion, tinnitus, euphoria, allergic reactions.

The following adverse reactions have been voluntarily reported as temporally associated with Butalbital, Aspirin, Caffeine, and Codeine Phosphate Capsules, a related product containing aspirin, butalbital, caffeine, and codeine phosphate.

Central Nervous: abuse, addiction, anxiety, disorientation, hallucination, hyperactivity, insomnia, libido decrease, nervousness, neuropathy, psychosis, sexual activity increase, slurred speech, twitching, unconsciousness, vertigo.

Autonomic Nervous: epistaxis, flushing, miosis, salivation.

Gastrointestinal: anorexia, appetite increased, diarrhea, esophagitis, gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal spasms, hiccup, mouth burning, pyloric ulcer.

Cardiovascular: chest pain, hypotensive reaction, palpitations, syncope.

Skin: erythema, erythema multiforme, exfoliative dermatitis, hives, rash, toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Urinary: kidney impairment, urinary difficulty.

Miscellaneous: allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock, cholangiocarcinoma, drug interaction with erythromycin (stomach upset), edema.

The following adverse reactions have been reported with the components of FIORICET with CODEINE. Potential effects of high dosage are listed in the OVERDOSAGE section.

Acetaminophen: allergic reactions, rash, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis.

Caffeine: cardiac stimulation, irritability, tremor, dependence, nephrotoxicity, hyperglycemia.

Codeine: nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, lightheadedness, constipation, pruritus.

Several cases of dermatological reactions, including toxic epidermal necrolysis and erythema multiforme, have been reported for butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine tablets, USP.

Serotonin Syndrome

Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.

Androgen Deficiency

Cases of androgen deficiency have occurred with chronic use of opioids [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Table 1 includes clinically significant drug interactions with FIORICET with CODEINE.

Table 1: Clinically Significant Drug Interactions with FIORICET with CODEINE

Inhibitors of CYP3A4
Clinical Impact: The concomitant use of FIORICET with CODEINE with CYP3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in codeine plasma concentrations with subsequently greater metabolism by cytochrome CYP2D6, resulting in greater morphine levels, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of FIORICET with CODEINE is achieved [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. After stopping a CYP3A4 inhibitor, as the effects of the inhibitor decline, it may result in lower codeine levels, greater norcodeine levels, and less metabolism via 2D6 with resultant lower morphine levels [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY], resulting in decreased opioid efficacy or a withdrawal syndrome in patients who had developed physical dependence to codeine.
Intervention: If concomitant use with CYP3A4 inhibitor is necessary, consider dosage reduction of FIORICET with CODEINE until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor patients for respiratory depression and sedation at frequent intervals.

If a CYP3A4 inhibitor is discontinued, consider increasing the FIORICET with CODEINE dosage until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor for signs of opioid withdrawal.

Examples: Macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g. ketoconazole), protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir), grapefruit juice
CYP3A4 Inducers
Clinical Impact: The concomitant use of FIORICET with CODEINE and CYP3A4 inducers can result in lower codeine levels, greater norcodeine levels, and less metabolism via 2D6 with resultant lower morphine levels [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY], resulting in decreased efficacy or onset of a withdrawal syndrome in patients who have developed physical dependence [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

After stopping a CYP3A4 inducer, as the effects of the inducer decline, the codeine plasma concentration may increase with subsequently greater metabolism by cytochrome CYP2D6, resulting in greater morphine levels [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY], which could increase or prolong both the therapeutic effects and adverse reactions, and may cause serious respiratory depression.

Intervention: If concomitant use of a CYP3A4 inducer is necessary, follow the patient for reduced efficacy and signs of opioid withdrawal and consider increasing the FIORICET with CODEINE dosage as needed.

If a CYP3A4 inducer is discontinued, consider FIORICET with CODEINE dosage reduction, and monitor for signs of respiratory depression and sedation at frequent intervals.

Examples: Rifampin, carbamazepine, phenytoin
Inhibitors of CYP2D6
Clinical Impact: Codeine is metabolized by CYP2D6 to form morphine. The concomitant use of FIORICET with CODEINE and CYP2D6 inhibitors can increase the plasma concentration of codeine, but can decrease the plasma concentrations of active metabolite morphine, which could result in reduced analgesic efficacy or symptoms of opioid withdrawal, particularly when an inhibitor is added after a stable dose of FIORICET with CODEINE is achieved [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. After stopping a CYP2D6 inhibitor, as the effects of the inhibitor decline, the codeine plasma concentration will decrease but the active metabolite morphine plasma concentration will increase, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Intervention: If concomitant use with a CYP2D6 inhibitor is necessary, or if a CYP2D6 inhibitor is discontinued after concomitant use, consider dosage adjustment of FIORICET with CODEINE and monitor patients closely at frequent intervals.

If concomitant use with CYP2D6 inhibitors is necessary, follow the patient for reduced efficacy or signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal and consider increasing the FIORICET with CODEINE as needed.

After stopping use of a CYP2D6 inhibitor, consider reducing the FIORICET with CODEINE and monitor the patient for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression or sedation.
Examples: paroxetine, fluoxetine, bupropion, quinidine
Benzodiazepines and Other Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
Clinical Impact: Due to additive pharmacologic effect, the concomitant use of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol, can increase the risk of hypotension, respiratory depression, profound sedation, coma, and death.
Intervention: Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients closely for signs of respiratory depression and sedation. If concomitant use is warranted, consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Examples: Benzodiazepines and other sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol.
Serotonergic Drugs
Clinical Impact: The concomitant use of opioids with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter system has resulted in serotonin syndrome.
Intervention: If concomitant use is warranted, carefully observe the patient, particularly during treatment initiation and dose adjustment. Discontinue FIORICET with CODEINE if serotonin syndrome is suspected.
Examples: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), triptans, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, drugs that affect the serotonin neurotransmitter system (e.g., mirtazapine, trazodone, tramadol), certain muscle relaxants (i.e., cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone), monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Clinical Impact: MAOI interactions with opioids may manifest as serotonin syndrome or opioid toxicity (e.g., respiratory depression, coma) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Intervention: Do not use FIORICET with CODEINE in patients taking MAOIs or within 14 days of stopping such treatment.

If urgent use of an opioid is necessary, use test doses and frequent titration of small doses of other opioids (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, or buprenorphine) to treat pain while closely monitoring blood pressure and signs and symptoms of CNS and respiratory depression.

Examples: phenelzine, tranylcypromine, linezolid
Mixed Agonist/Antagonist and Partial Agonist Opioid Analgesics
Clinical Impact: May reduce the analgesic effect of FIORICET with CODEINE and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms.
Intervention: Avoid concomitant use.
Examples: butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, buprenorphine
Muscle Relaxants
Clinical Impact: Codeine may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.
Intervention: Monitor patients for signs of respiratory depression that may be greater than otherwise expected and decrease the dosage of FIORICET with CODEINE and/or the muscle relaxant as necessary. Due to the risk of respiratory depression with concomitant use of skeletal muscle relaxants and opioids, consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Examples: cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone
Diuretics
Clinical Impact: Opioids can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone.
Intervention: Monitor patients for signs of diminished diuresis and/or effects on blood pressure and increase the dosage of the diuretic as needed.
Anticholinergic Drugs
Clinical Impact: The concomitant use of anticholinergic drugs may increase risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.
Intervention: Monitor patients for signs of urinary retention or reduced gastric motility when FIORICET with CODEINE is used concomitantly with anticholinergic drugs.

Drug Abuse And Dependende

Controlled Substance

FIORICET with CODEINE contains codeine. Codeine in combination with butalbital, acetaminophen, and caffeine is a Schedule III controlled substance.

Abuse

FIORICET with CODEINE contains codeine, a substance with a high potential for abuse similar to other opioids including fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and tapentadol. FIORICET with CODEINE can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.

Prescription drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of a prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects.

Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and includes: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal.

“Drug-seeking” behavior is very common in persons with substance use disorders. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing, or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating healthcare provider(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers to obtain additional prescriptions) is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.

Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Healthcare providers should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction.

FIORICET with CODEINE, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful recordkeeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests, as required by state and federal law, is strongly advised.

Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.

Risks Specific to Abuse of FIORICET with CODEINE

FIORICET with CODEINE is for oral use only. Abuse of FIORICET with CODEINE poses a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent use of FIORICET with CODEINE with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants.

Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

Butalbital

Barbiturates may be habit-forming: Tolerance, psychological dependence, and physical dependence may occur especially following prolonged use of high doses of barbiturates. The average daily dose for the barbiturate addict is usually about 1,500 mg. As tolerance to barbiturates develops, the amount needed to maintain the same level of intoxication increases; tolerance to a fatal dosage, however, does not increase more than twofold. As this occurs, the margin between an intoxication dosage and fatal dosage becomes smaller. The lethal dose of a barbiturate is far less if alcohol is also ingested. Major withdrawal symptoms (convulsions and delirium) may occur within 16 hours and last up to 5 days after abrupt cessation of these drugs. Intensity of withdrawal symptoms gradually declines over a period of approximately 15 days. Treatment of barbiturate dependence consists of cautious and gradual withdrawal of the drug. Barbituratedependent patients can be withdrawn by using a number of different withdrawal regimens. One method involves initiating treatment at the patient's regular dosage level and gradually decreasing the daily dosage as tolerated by the patient.

Dependence

Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.

Physical dependence is a physiological state in which the body adapts to the drug after a period of regular exposure, resulting in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dosage reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity (e.g., naloxone, nalmefene), mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (e.g., pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine), or partial agonists (e.g., buprenorphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.

Do not abruptly discontinue FIORICET with CODEINE in a patient physically dependent on opioids. Rapid tapering of FIORICET with CODEINE in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse.

When discontinuing FIORICET with CODEINE, gradually taper the dosage using a patient-specific plan that considers the following: the dose of FIORICET with CODEINE the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. To improve the likelihood of a successful taper and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important that the opioid tapering schedule is agreed upon by the patient. In patients taking opioids for a long duration at high doses, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see Use In Specific Populations].

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Fioricet with Codeine (Butalbital Acetaminophen Caffeine Capsules)

© Fioricet with Codeine Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Fioricet with Codeine Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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