Compare Fioricet vs. Imitrex

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

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Treats some serious headaches.

Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) works well for tension headaches, but isn’t typically recommeneded as a first-line treatment due to the ability to overuse it and have withdrawal symptoms.

4.3/ 5 average rating with 17 reviewsforFioricet
Treats migraine headaches.

Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 31 reviewsforImitrex
Upsides
  • Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) works better and faster in treating tension headaches than the combination of acetaminophen and codeine.
  • Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) has a cheaper, generic version.
  • Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) does not require dosage adjustments if you have kidney and liver problems.
  • 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
  • Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) isn't the first choice medication for treating tension headaches.
  • Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) is 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Solution
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Price
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Reviews
17 reviews so far
88%
saidit'sworth it
76%
saiditworked well
12%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine)?

Leave a review
31 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
68%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Imitrex (Sumatriptan)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
6possible side effects
  • Pain and other pressure sensations
    6%
  • Atypical sensations
    5%
  • Paresthesia (all types)
    3%
  • Sensation warm/cold
    3%
  • Pain - location specified
    2%
  • Malaise/fatigue
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Liver toxicity
    • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
    • Taking Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine) with other acetaminophen-containing medicines
    • History of liver disease
  • Potential for habit-forming, abuse, and misuse
    • Personal or family history of substance abuse
    • History of mental illness
  • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions
    • Allergy to Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Tightening of blood vessels (myocardial angina, ischemia, or infarction)
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stroke
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
See more detailed risks and warnings