Something stronger for Migraines so won't have to take 2 to 8 Fioricet daily?

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  • Full Question:

    I have taken Fioricet for the past 40 years for severe migraine headache. I was wondering if there is something stronger, so that I wont have to take 2 to 8 Fioricet daily. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Nancy.


    Full Answer:

    Dear Nancy;


    It's not a matter of "stronger," but a matter of what works. One thing you need to be aware of is that if you've been taking eight Fioricet daily, you should talk with your doctor about how to change what you're taking or stop taking it. Abruptly discontinuing a barbiturate such as the butalbital in Fioricet can cause problems including seizures.

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    That said, none of the medications that are to be taken when you get a Migraine should be used daily. Taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans or ergotamines or any kind of pain med more than two or three days a week can make matters worse by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this. Being in an MOH cycle essentially sentences you to a headache every day until you break the cycle. Since all three ingredients in Fioricet - acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine - can cause MOH by themselves, there's a very strong probability that taking it daily has put you in this position.


    The best thing you can do for yourself is talk with your doctor about discontinuing the Fioricet, then finding effective preventive treatments and an effective abortive treatment to use when you do have Migraine.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



    If you need help finding a  Migraine and headache specialist,
     visit our listing of Patient Recommended Specialists.



    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Last updated March 29, 2012.

Published On: March 29, 2012