Fioricet (Butalbital) Detox: Side Effects And Timeline

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

Fioricet is a prescription pain reliever that can be habit-forming and cause withdrawal with sudden, stopped use. Safely detoxing from Fioricet will require seeking medical guidance and support, due to a risk of serious complications during withdrawal.

How To Detox From Fioricet

Fioricet is a prescription medication for tension headaches that contains caffeine, acetaminophen, and butalbital—a habit-forming barbiturate drug.

Stopping Fioricet suddenly can be dangerous, due to medical complications such as seizures and convulsions that have been reported while detoxing from barbiturates.

The safest way to detox from Fioricet after taking it chronically is to find a medically supervised detox program for assistance through a detox facility or addiction treatment center.

Find out more about barbiturate detox

Do You Need To Detox From Fioricet?

If you have been taking Fioricet chronically, detox is necessary due to its ability to cause physical dependence.

What this can do is cause dangerous symptoms of withdrawal if use of the drug is stopped after a period of chronic drug use or misuse.

Fioricet detox is typically recommended for people who:

  • have taken Fioricet regularly for at least several weeks
  • take high doses of Fioricet
  • misuse Fioricet alone or with other drugs/substances (e.g. alcohol)
  • have a history of drug abuse or addiction
  • have other risk factors for severe barbiturate withdrawal

Detox programs, including those offered by inpatient and outpatient treatment providers, are the safest option for detoxing from addictive drugs like Fioricet.

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How Fioricet Detox Works

Medical supervision during the detox process, especially with barbiturate-containing drugs like Fiorciet, can be critical for safety purposes.

What the Fioricet detox process looks like:

  • intake assessment: First, you’ll be asked questions about your drug use and overall health. This will help medical staff come up with an appropriate detox plan.
  • detoxification: Next comes the actual detox process, which may take several days or up to two weeks in some cases. This may be physically and emotionally uncomfortable.
  • treatment planning: If you’re detoxing from Fioricet after a period of drug abuse, a detox provider may offer a referral for substance abuse treatment.

Within a medical detox program, treatment from healthcare providers will be offered for any discomfort or severe withdrawal symptoms that develop during the detox process.

Side Effects Of Fioricet Detox

Detoxing from Fioricet can result in a range of physical, mental, and psychological side effects known as withdrawal syndrome. This typically develops within 72 hours of last Fioricet use.

Fioricet withdrawal closely resembles symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and can last for anywhere from five days to two weeks. For some, withdrawal may begin within hours.

Early withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • dizziness
  • mood swings
  • fast heart rate
  • sweating
  • insomnia
  • agitation

Late withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • severe confusion (delirium)
  • hallucinations
  • rebound headache
  • seizures

Some symptoms, including seizures during withdrawal, can become life-threatening if Fioricet withdrawal is not properly identified and treated by a healthcare provider.

Fioricet Detox And Withdrawal Timeline

If you’ve become dependent on Fioricet, withdrawal may begin within mere hours after taking your last dose and last for up to two weeks.

Days 0-3: Most Fioricet withdrawal symptoms develop within the first 72 hours after stopping Fioricet or reducing your dosage. This can include potential seizures and disorientation.

Days 4-7: Withdrawal will generally begin to decline in its intensity, although mild symptoms and psychological disturbances—such as lingering depression and anxiety—may continue.

Days 7-14: Most withdrawal symptoms go away after the first two weeks of stopping Fioricet. If you’re tapering off Fioricet slowly, the duration of this may be longer.

Tapering off Fioricet, as opposed to stopping it cold turkey, is typically recommended due to its barbiturate ingredient.

Tapering off Fioricet will require creating a schedule with a healthcare provider that outlines when and how much to reduce your dosage of Fioricet. This can help prevent complications during detox.

Risks And Dangers Of Fioricet Detox

Detoxing from Fioricet can be dangerous to attempt alone due to risks associated with barbiturate withdrawal, including seizures, circulatory failure, and death.

Risk factors for severe Fioricet withdrawal include:

  • Fioricet abuse
  • abuse of multiple drugs
  • detoxing off high doses of Fioricet
  • long history of heavy Fioricet use
  • co-occurring medical conditions
  • poor overall health
  • stopping Fioricet abruptly (“cold turkey”)

People with a Fioricet abuse or addiction problem in particular can be at risk for severe effects during the detox process.

Furthermore, there’s also a higher risk for relapsing to drug use when attempting to detox in a home environment as opposed to, for instance, a specialized detox center.

Fioricet Detox FAQs

Fioricet (butalbital) is a prescription medicine used to relieve tension headaches and migraines. Here you’ll find answers to common questions about Fioricet detox and treatment options.

❓ Can You Detox From Fioricet At Home?

✔️ Detoxing from drugs like Fioricet at home is not advised for people with substance use disorders, due to a risk for medical complications and relapse.

If you have been taking Fioricet as prescribed for a long time, do not stop taking Fioricet without first talking to your doctor.

❓ How Long Does It Take To Detox From Fioricet?

✔️ Detoxing from Fioricet can cause acute withdrawal and protracted withdrawal. Acute withdrawal may last between five to 14 days.

After this, symptoms of protracted withdrawal—including depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms—may linger for some time. This can be managed, however, with treatment.

❓ Is Rapid Detox Safe With Butalbital?

✔️ It’s not recommended that anyone who’s taken Fioricet for at least several weeks stop taking it all at once. Quitting this drug cold turkey can cause very serious withdrawal symptoms.

❓ How Long Does It Take To Get Fioricet Out Of Your System?

✔️ Fioricet has a long half-life of 35 hours. It can take about four to five half lives—or up to 175 hours—for a drug to be 97% eliminated from a person’s system.

Learn About Fioricet Detox Options Today

For many, detox is the first step on the road to recovery from drug addiction—and that includes an addiction to prescription painkillers like Fioricet.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Fioricet abuse or addiction, there’s no time to waste.

Call our helpline today to learn more about Fioricet detox and to find the best detox program for Fioricet addiction at a treatment center near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021
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