Compare Fioricet vs. Relpax

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

Fioricet
(Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)

Relpax
(eletriptan)

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. Relpax (eletriptan) is a first choice medicine to treat migraines, but it can be expensive.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.94Fioricet
Reviews for Fioricet
88%
of people (All ages) say Fioricet is worth it
76%
say it works well
12%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)?
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Have you used Relpax (eletriptan)?
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Side effects
FioricetRelpax

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

FDA side effect reports for Fioricet »
  • Tingling or prickling sensation 1%
  • Headache 1%
  • Weakness 1%
  • Chest tightness or pain 1%
  • Abdominal issues 1%
More Relpax side effects »
How it works
FioricetRelpax
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.Relpax (eletriptan) is a triptan. Migraine headaches happen when blood vessels are too open and allow too much blood to the brain. Relpax (eletriptan) tightens the blood vessels, which relieves the pain.
Type of medication
FioricetRelpax
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyNo lower cost generic available
Available as
FioricetRelpax
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
Used for
FioricetRelpax
Risk factors for serious side effects
FioricetRelpax
  • 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 »
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • History of chest pain
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • History of a stroke
  • Using Relpax (eletriptan) for more than 10 days a month
Detailed Relpax (eletriptan) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Upsides and benefits
FioricetRelpax
  • 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.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) works as well as other first choice medicines for migraines.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) comes in 2 different strengths.
Downsides and risks
FioricetRelpax
  • 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.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) is only available as a brand name.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) can cause dizziness and might make you more likely to fall.
  • If you have more than 3 migraines a month, Relpax (eletriptan) isn't a good choice because of its side effects.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
FioricetRelpax
  • 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.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) can only treat a migraine that's already happening. Relpax (eletriptan) doesn't prevent migraines from starting.
  • Take Relpax (eletriptan) at the first sign of a migraine. You can take another dose if you don't feel better after 2 hours. Don't take more than 80 mg every 24 hours.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) can make you feel dizzy or tired when you first start taking it. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
  • If you find you're using the entire month's supply of Relpax (eletriptan) before your next refill, talk to your doctor to see if you should try something else.
  • Relpax (eletriptan) can cause nausea or tightness in the chest or throat. Talk to your doctor if it bothers you.
Learn more
More about FioricetSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Fioricet (Butalbital / Acetaminophen / Caffeine)?
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More about RelpaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Relpax (eletriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it