Can Fioricet Get One High? Unveiling the Little-Known Facts

Last Updated: April 3, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Fioricet is a medication composed of acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine. It is used for severe headaches and to treat muscle contractions. Although not prescribed for such illnesses, Fioricet is often used by people to treat usual migraines and various bodily pain associated occurrences.

Fioricet High: Is It Possible?

A Fioricet high and experiences from its use may vary from person to person. The amount of Fioricet taken by a person plays an important role in causing the experience upon intake.

Side Effects of Fioricet High

Getting high on Fioricet is considered drug abuse, and the recorded side effects of Fioricet may include the following:

  • Intoxicated sensations – Users of Fioricet explain that they feel intoxicated to an extent when they are on Fioricet. It works by relieving the pain caused by the muscle contractions thereby making a person feel like they are high due to intoxication.
  • Nausea and vomiting – Use of Fioricet can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Hindrance in breathing – Users may also experience heavy breathing, and if an excess dose is taken, the user might go into a coma.
  • Highly addictive – Due to its relaxing and anti-depressant properties, the Fioricet can become a source of addiction. Many people who are not careful fall victim to its addiction. However, when the Fioricet high wears off, it is reported to cause a feeling of extreme depression.
  • Pain in the abdomen – As a reaction, one might also fee abdominal pain and pangs.

Fioricet Overdose

The overdose of Fioricet is toxic and may quickly lead to liver failure, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, a respiratory breakdown which may subsequently result in death.
Fioricet overdose is slightly perplexed as there are two factors into play, acetaminophen, and butalbital.
The acetaminophen present in Fioricet is a lethal substance if ingested in excessive amounts, but even a low dose of 4,000mg can cause liver damage to the human body.
To counter the overdose of acetaminophen, doctors use N-acetylcysteine.
Further to it, the butalbital, which is a type of barbiturate, can contaminate the body swiftly and disrupt the respiratory system causing death within minutes.

Is Fioricet addictive?

Yes, Fioricet can be highly addictive. Fioricet is a combination of acetaminiophen, butalbital, and caffeine. The acetaminophen brings relief from chronic pain and the butalbital acts as a sedative. This combination of chemicals can produce feelings of euphoria, making the drug difficult to give up.

Fioricet Overdose Death

Yes, it is possible to die from a Fioricet overdose. Liver damage can occur after ingesting as little as 4,000 mg. If 10,000 to 15,000 mg of acetaminophen finds its way into the body, it can quickly kill by way of acute liver failure, acute renal failure or upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

Fioricet Mechanism Of Action

As mentioned in the beginning, the three components of Fioricet; acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine are responsible for different functions.
Acetaminophen acts to relieve the pain (analgesic characteristic) and also to reduce or alleviate fever (antipyretic characteristic). Its purpose is to drive away the muscular contractions and thus achieving relief from pain. Due to its antipyretic property, it also fights against the fever that one might have. Even low doses of 1000 mg 3000 mg a day might be sufficient to reach toxicity.
Butalbital (being sedative in nature) present in Fioricet serves the purpose of relaxing the nervous system. Excessive doses of butalbital are lethal as they may jam up the breathing system and the overall nervous system of the human body. It gives a feeling of euphoria.
Being the third constituent, caffeine is there to balance the sedative effects of butalbital. Caffeine is a stimulant by nature, and it helps to keep Fioricet’s chemical composition in balance, thus allowing it to be ingestible for the human body.

Side Effects of Fioricet Abuse

The side effects of Fioricet abuse include:

  • Sensations of intoxication/ feeling of being “high”
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heavy breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Possibility of addiction due to its anti-depressant properties

Fioricet Risk Groups

  • People with kidney ailments
  • People with previous skin diseases triggered by any other drugs
  • If one have a mental condition, and there is a chemical imbalance, Fioricet is known to trigger severe adverse reactions
  • Breathing congestion, asthma, sleeping disorders
  • People who are on medication against blood clotting
  • Liver diseases patients
  • Anyone who recently consumed alcohol or any other type of sedatives or tranquilizers
  • Stomach ulcer patients
  • Pregnant females should immediately inform the doctor of their Otherwise, the unborn child is likely to become dependent on butalbital and may experience problems while withdrawing in future
  • Breastfeeding mothers should also not take Fioricet as it easily gets transferred through the milk into the baby’s stomach

Withdrawal from Butalbital (Present in Fioricet)

As frequently mentioned in the earlier lines, the butalbital is highly addictive and hence Fioricet is a potentially dangerous drug for substance abuse. Once getting hooked on Fioricet, the dependent may feel the need to rely on it in every situation. Its use results in loss of focus, dizziness and impaired decision making.
Many tend to use Fioricet as a substitute for other prescription drugs for getting high. The high one get out of Fioricet might only last for a short period of time but what follows is an absolutely dangerous and life-threatening ordeal.
Being a primary constituent in Fioricet, butalbital is prevalent in teens and adults as a recreational drug. Although Fioricet is not enlisted as a controlled substance in the USA, its variant Fiorinal has Codeine in its composition, due to which Fiorinal is a controlled substance.
It is advised to use Fioricet as a means for medical purposes only. Just like with any other drug, unless it becomes abused, Fioricet is a very effective and much commonly prescribed drug by doctors for chronic head pain and migraines.

Page Sources

  1. Bryczkowski C., Geib A. J. Combined butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine overdose: case files of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Toxicology Service. Journal of Medical Toxicology. 2012; 8(4): 424–431. doi:10.1007/s13181-012-0261-z.
  2. The U.S. National Library of Medicine. Butalbital.
  3. Medline Plus. Acetaminophen, Butalbital, and Caffeine. 2019.

Published on: August 17th, 2016

Updated on: April 3rd, 2020

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • Denise Vigliotta
    I take fiorocet for my migraine headache and it seems to work well but I’m going through a lot of pain with stomach pain and burning can that be a result of using fiorocet
  • Barbara
    Yes it can cause burning and and stomach pain especially if you have ulcers and if you do it says not to take it.