Butalbital is a short- to immediate-acting barbiturate that decreases anxiety, resulting in drowsiness and relaxation. Butalbital is mixed with other drugs to form a relief for tension headaches. Butalbital overdose symptoms may also involve the symptoms of the other compounds used in the medications. Butalbital-containing medicines include:
- Acetaminophen, caffeine and butalbital (Fioricet and Dolmar)
- Aspirin, caffeine and butalbital (Fiorinal and Farbital)
- Acetaminophen and butalbital (Axocet and Bucet)
- Codeine, acetaminophen, caffeine and butalbital (Fioricet with codeine)
Although butalbital is mainly prescribed for tension headaches, it has also been effective for relief of migraine headaches. The doctor may prescribe the medication containing butalbital for other uses.
Dangers of Risky Butalbital Use
Butalbital, a generalized central nervous system depressant, may be habit-forming. Butalbital is a commonly misused and abused drug. In fact, consuming butalbital over a long period may result in tolerance, making it necessary to take increasing amounts to produce the same effect. Tolerance to a fatal dosage does not increase more than twofold. This causes the margin between taking a dosage that results in intoxication and taking a fatal dosage to shrink. Taking large quantities of butalbital can result in dangerous consequences, including death.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Misuse
An overdose on butalbital may result from an accidental or intentional act of taking more than the normal or recommended dosage. Overdoses on butalbital may result in toxicity. Signs of an overdose on butalbital include:
- Faulty judgment
- Slowness of speech
- Slurred speech
- Extreme sleepiness
- Sluggishness or hyporeflexia
- Lack of coordination
- Respiratory depression
- High blood pressure
- Hypovolemic shock
- Limp muscles
“Butalbital overdose symptoms themselves are very serious.”Butalbital overdose symptoms themselves are very serious. A single overdose can result in permanent brain damage or death, particularly if a large amount of butalbital is ingested and treatment is delayed. You need to seek immediate addiction treatment if you experience any signs of an overdose on butalbital. Show your body an act of kindness and become free from butalbital.
Babies born to mothers who took medications containing butalbital while pregnant may exhibit withdrawal or addiction symptoms or breathing problems. Pregnant or nursing women should not take medications containing butalbital unless their doctor feels the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks. Taking butalbital while pregnant may result in miscarriage.
There is a high likelihood that combining butalbital with another drug or drugs will enhance its effects and those of the other drug(s). Individuals mixing this drug with alcohol or other drugs may experience life-threatening overdose symptoms. A lethal dose of butalbital is lower if alcohol is mixed with it. While taking butalbital, you should not consume alcohol or take other drugs not prescribed by your doctor.
Drugs.com indicates approximately one in 10 people who have overdosed on a barbiturate, such as butalbital, or a mixture of drugs including barbiturates will experience fatal consequences because of heart and lung complications. The death rate of barbiturate overdoses can be higher than 10 percent if treatment is delayed. Numerous famous people have died because of barbiturate overdoses.
Emergency Treatment for Overdose
Re-establishing or maintaining sufficient respiratory exchange is crucial in butalbital overdose treatment. This can be accomplished through the use of medically assisted detox or controlled ventilation. Severe respiratory depression resulting from a butalbital overdose can be treated with the opioid antagonist naloxone hydrochloride. Naloxone hydrochloride is preferably administered intravenously and simultaneously with respiratory resuscitation efforts. Butalbital overdose treatment can also include the following as needed:
- Induction of vomiting mechanically (individual is unconscious) or with syrup of ipecac (individual is alert)
- Intravenously administered fluids
- Intravenously administered vitamin K
- Vasopressor agents, such as norepinephrine or phenylephrine hydrochloride
- Intravenously administered norepinephrine bitatrate with serial blood pressure monitoring
- Emptying the stomach to remove any unabsorbed butalbital
- Urine alkalinization
- Oral-activated charcoal
- Other supportive measures
If the butalbital overdose results in methemoglobinemia that covers over 30 percent of the body, it should be treated with a slow intravenous administration of methylene blue.
Taking more than the prescribed dosage of the drug or taking it when it is not prescribed to you can cause serious butalbital overdose symptoms that may result in fatal consequences. Addiction to butalbital can have very serious or even fatal consequences. If you are worried that your use of the drug may cause you to experience butalbital overdose symptoms, look into your butalbital detox and withdrawal treatment options.
How to Avoid the Consequences of Addiction
- Use painkillers, such as those containing butalbital, only as directed.
- Do not take butalbital unless you have a prescription.
- Store it in a secure place.
- Dispose of it properly.
- Seek assistance for substance abuse problems.