The drug Fioricet is one of the prescription drug choices for treating tension headaches in individuals. Unlike the regular pain relievers, though, Fioricet contains a mix of several active ingredients, acetaminophen, caffeine, and butalbital. Fioricet is an effective drug for treating headaches, but is it economical and more practical to use than the other options available?

Fioricet Generic Name: What is this drug?

The drug Fioricet, like we mentioned, is a combination drug composed of caffeine, butalbital, and acetaminophen and is used in managing tension headaches in patients. The acetaminophen component of this drug is meant for pain relief, butalbital is an anti-anxiety drug that relaxes muscle contractions that contribute to tension headaches, and the caffeine component is used to counteract the sedative effect of the butalbital component in Fioricet.

Fioricet Capsules

The usual composition of Fioricet includes 50 mg butalbital, 325 mg acetaminophen, and 40 mg caffeine. Fioricet is actually a brand name for the capsules from the company Watson Pharma. There are other acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine-containing products like Fioricet, but they bear other brand names like Fiorinal (Actavis Plc/Watson Pharma), Esgic (Maynepharma), Amaphen, Butace, Repan, and several other brands.

Although it is not considered a scheduled substance, Fioricet has the potential to become addictive due to its butalbital and caffeine components, and hence taken only under the recommendation of the doctor. On the other hand, its acetaminophen component, when taken in large amounts and with chronic use can cause liver damage and other unwanted side effects. Also, the long-term use of Fioricet may cause rebound headaches when patients cease to take it.

The recommended dose for Fioricet (and other similar drugs) in capsule and tablet form is 1 or 2 capsules every 4 hours, whenever needed. However, doctors recommend taking below 6 tablets or capsules per day and not more than 4000 mg (or 4 g) of acetaminophen in 24 hours. Patients under 12 years old should consult their doctor regarding the most appropriate dose for Fioricet. Fioricet is ideally taken before tension headaches usually occur, or just during the first signs of tension headaches.

Common side effects of Fioricet and similar medicines include the following:

  • Withdrawal symptoms (mood changes, seizures, nausea, vomiting)
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased urine output
  • Tremors

Patients planning to use Fioricet for their condition will need to inform their doctors about the following diseases, since these may affect how Fioricet works in their body:

  • Liver disease
  • Enzyme disorders like porphyria
  • Mental or mood disorders
  • Stomach ulcers and other digestive diseases
  • Breathing problems
  • Substance abuse or addiction

To make sure of the patients’ safety while taking the product for their tension headaches, they are requested to consult their doctors and disclose their medical and drug history before they are prescribed the medication.

Fioricet/Fiorinal Generic Price

The drugs Fioricet and Fiorinal are from the same manufacturers, but they are not the same drugs. Fioricet has acetaminophen as its pain reliever component, while the drug Fiorinal has aspirin instead. Patients are not allowed to use these drugs interchangeably since acetaminophen and aspirin are two different medications, and in some cases, patients eligible for acetaminophen use are prohibited to use aspirin due to the possible problematic outcomes. These drugs’ difference in the pain reliever aspect matter greatly—Fioricet is not a scheduled substance, while the aspirin-containing Fiorinal is considered a scheduled, class III substance. Although both drugs contain butalbital, Fiorinal’s aspirin makes the butalbital more potent and more addictive under certain substances, while Fioricet’s acetaminophen component converts butalbital into something else.

As for their prices, though, Fioricet and Fiorinal are similarly priced, according to one online reference for local pharmacy prices for medicines in the United States:

Fioricet Local US Drugstore Prices

Fioricet Local US Drugstore Prices

According to the price information above, the brand Fioricet from Watson Pharma/Actavis PLC costs at least $6.91 per capsule (Walmart) and up to roughly $8.00 per capsule depending on the local drugstore in question.

Fiorinal Local US Drugstore Prices

Fiorinal Local US Drugstore Prices

Fiorinal prices are similar to Fioricet’s—according to the platform with local drugstore prices, the Fiorinal costs $7.42 per capsule to about $8.45 per capsule depending on the local pharmacy.

Since Fioricet and Fiorinal are brand-name drugs, they have slightly higher prices than the generic ones available in the market. Fortunately for consumers, there are generic Fioricet and Fiorinal products available at local pharmacies which can help them maximize their savings on the products. Here are Fioricet and Fiorinal generic prices at local US drugstores:

Generic Fioricet Prices

Generic Fioricet Prices

Kroger Pharmacy has the lowest price for generic Fioricet—the drugstore sells a capsule of the product for only $1.63. Other drugstores, like CVS Pharmacy, for instance, sell the same generic drug for $4.99 each. Although the other local drugstores have higher prices than Kroger, these stores have cheaper prices than the brand Fioricet products.

Generic Fiorinal Prices

Generic Fiorinal Prices

Generic Fiorinal prices are also cheap, although slightly higher than the generic Fioricet prices. Customers can purchase one capsule of the product for $2.45 to $5.36 each—still slightly more inexpensive than the brand product from the same stores.

Can I Purchase Butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine Over the Counter?

Although Fioricet (or butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine) is not a scheduled substance, patients cannot purchase the drug without a prescription due to the considerable harm it may inflict patients who will only self-medicate on the product. Doctors should deem the patients fit to take the drug before they are given Fioricet, especially because the active ingredients of the medication can cause physical and mental dependence and can trigger several side effects.


Fioricet, the tension headache medication, is an Rx-only drug. It is available at local drugstores and has generic counterparts available for consumer purchase. This drug is affordable at local pharmacies, but customers interested in purchasing even cheaper generic Fioricet may consider purchasing the product at trusted online drugstores, like the ones included in our rundown of TOP Online Drugstores. Consult your doctor before using Fioricet for the best outcomes.