Compare Fioricet vs. Imitrex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Fioricet
(Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)

Imitrex
(Sumatriptan)

Treats tension headaches. Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) works well for tension headaches, but isn’t recommended due to the ability to overuse it and have withdrawal symptoms.Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
77%
15% vs. Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)
73%
4% vs. Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)
15%
7% vs. Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)
Side effects
FioricetImitrex

We haven’t found good data for Fioricet side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Fioricet »
  • Pain and other pressure sensations 4%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 3%
  • Atypical sensations 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
More Imitrex side effects »
How it works
FioricetImitrex
Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) is a combination of three medications. Butalbital is a barbiturate that relaxes you. Acetaminophen relieves pain, and caffeine narrows the blood vessels that otherwise cause headaches.Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
FioricetImitrex
Pain reliever
Barbiturate
Prescription only
Antimigraine
Triptan
Prescription only
Available as
FioricetImitrex
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
FioricetImitrex
Risk factors for serious side effects
FioricetImitrex
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Taking with other acetaminophen-containing medicines
  • History of liver disease
    Detailed Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) risks & warnings »
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
      • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
      • History of high blood pressure
      • History of seizures
      Detailed Imitrex (Sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      FioricetImitrex
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      • While taking Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine), don’t drink alcohol or take other drugs that slow your body down.
      No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      No specific sleep-related info.
      • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      FioricetImitrex
      • Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) works better and faster in treating tension headaches than the combination of acetaminophen and codeine.
      • Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) doesn’t cost much since it's available as a generic medication.
      • Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) has very few side effects.
      • It has been widely used for a long time.
      • Comes in several forms. Ask your doctor if you should use the pill, nasal spray, patch, or injection.
      • A combination of forms can be used if symptoms do not improve.
      • The nasal spray and injectable forms work very quickly.
      • It's generally safe to use if you are pregnant.
      • Comes in a generic form, so it can be pretty cheap.
      Downsides and risks
      FioricetImitrex
      • Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) isn't the first choice medication for treating tension headaches.
      • It's not a good medication for long-term use.
      • Overuse of Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) can lead to chronic tension headaches.
      • Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms, intoxication, and dependence.
      • Taking Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) can decrease your ability to drive a car, or operate machinery.
      • The oral and nasal versions of Imitrex (Sumatriptan) have an unpleasant after-taste.
      • Does not prevent migraine headaches; it only treats them once they start.
      • Must wait 1 hour before using second injection.
      • Can cause rebound (more) headaches if Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is used too often.
      • Need to have your blood pressure checked often, especially if you're pregnant.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      FioricetImitrex
      • Take Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) as soon as your headache starts, then lie down in a dark room to help ease the pain.
      • Be sure to take each dose with a full glass of water.
      • Take your time getting up from sitting or lying down while taking Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) to decrease your chances of feeling dizzy.
      • Be sure to limit how much caffeine and chocolate you take while on Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine) since it can cause nervousness, shakiness, and a fast heartbeat.
      • While taking Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine), don’t drink alcohol or take other drugs that slow your body down.
      • Don't take other forms of acetaminophen (Tylenol) while taking Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine), since taking too much can lead to liver problems.
      • Take it as soon as your headache starts.
      • If you use the nasal spray, be sure to blow your nose before using it.
      • If you use the patch, put it on a dry area free of scars, tattoos, or other cuts and scrapes. Be sure to press the button to activate it.
      • If you use the injection, you can use a second injection if you still have a headache after an hour. If you have symptoms 2 hours after the injection, switch to the pill version.
      • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
      • Lie down in a dark room after taking Imitrex (Sumatriptan) to help ease the pain.
      Learn more
      More about FioricetSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert