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is butalbital a controlled substance?
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is butalbital a controlled substance?

I had brain surgery in 1990 for a cerebral aneurysm. I've been being prescribed Fioricet since then, as I have bad reactions to aspirin, n-saids, SSRI'S, the newer anti-depressants, most recently Depakote, and the codeine family. Fioricet is the only thing that keeps me from getting what I call my "Killer headaches from hell!" My doc said he won't give me anymore Fioricet because it's very addicting and you're supposed to take only 2 per day. I searched PlanetRx and it says Fioricet is not a controlled substance and that the maximum dosage recommendation is 6 tablets per day. Yet, because of anxiety and depression, he has been dishing out first Xanax, (but it made my headaches worse) then Valium like they were candy! I checked with PlanetRx and both benzodiazepines are controlled substances and highly addictive. I realize that the Butalbital in Fioricet is also addictive--if this is true, then why isn't it a controlled substance? Also, after taking 4-6 tablets per day for the past 10 years, why can I go for days without it and not have severe withdrawal reactions? I'd appreciate any information you can give me, as I can't seem to find out much on the web. Thank you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Fioricet is not considered a controlled substance, although I'm not sure why.  Fiorinal is and fiorinal or fioricet w/codeine definitely is.  The maximum dose per day is six tablets.  It is addicting, but it depends on how you use it.

If it's the only thing that helps you, I'd suggest finding another doctor who will understand and prescribe the fioricet, with monitoring.

Xanax is addicting also, and if he's prescribing that, he's not too concerned about your dependence on it.

Anyway, I hope this gives you some insight.  And I hope you're able to have what helps you.  Good luck!
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I'm wondering the same thing since I just learned that Soma is extremely addictive and it is not controlled either. I do know that trafficking trends play a part in starting legislation to contol substances. I hope we see an answer to your question.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a opiod recovering addict.... I was recently in an automobile accident and was prescribed Fiorcet for my severe headaches.  Should I been concerned?!?!?
From,
Concerned recovering addict
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Avatar_f_tn
For some reason, butalbital products are controlled when mixed with asprin but not with acetaminophen.

Even the one preparation that is only butabital and acetaminophen without any caffeine (Phrenelin forte) is not controlled. It should be.

Now the caffeine helps deter abuse, but it is still addictive. And that's not why the caffeine is there .

It's a weird loophole I've never understood .

Like I said, fioriNAL, and all other asprin combos ARE C-III, which is above Valium and such.

FioriCET, and all acetaminophen combos are uncontrolled.

Weird loophole.
Allows them to be bought online very easily. More easily than valium.
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Avatar_m_tn
i disagree that the caffeine is to deter abuse. as it is, phrenilin and phrenilin forte are rarely ever abused vs. fioricet. caffeine, as everyone knows, is addicting...but coming from someone with lots and lots of experience abusing this medication....the caffeine is there to keep you from getting knocked out, thus improving your 'high'....you get high, drunk, relaxed, and experience euphoria, all without the inconvenience of being knocked out during it. that's the true purpose of the caffeine.

if you look back into the 50's, 60's, and 70's, barbs were mixed with amphetamines. the only purpose this served was to be an extremely powerful drug of abuse.

anyway, i only mention this as someone who's abused barbs. the high does you know good if you're knocked out for it....hence the reason most people never abuse them till they've built a tolerance up and can actually stay awake after taking a large dose. with fioricet, you've already got that part down because the caffeine keeps you up. and why on earth isn't butalbital controlled and not just fiorinal? it's a question i've been asking for years. it doesn't make sense. perhaps because there is no plain butalbital. perhaps for the reason codeine is a c-II and yet tylenol #3 is only a c-III. or perhaps it keeps sales up.
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Avatar_m_tn
also...i forgot....the reason it's actually there is as a vasocontrictor. but to a drug abuser, this is not relevent at all.
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Avatar_n_tn
My best friends mother was prescribed butalbital caffeine for headaches and has become extremely addicted to them. Her doctor no lnoger prescribes them to her and she instead gets them online without a prescription. She has gone into a 7 day treatment once already and says she will never go again. Since then her addiction has gotten worse and worse. We are all extremely worried about her and do not know what do. I guess im just looking for any kind of information that could be useful. Also ive tried researching on the web, but when you type in butalbital addiction it sends you to pages where you can order online. Thats just not right!
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1047946_tn?1332611629
I can't help you with your question but wanted to know you should start your own post. This is a pretty old post and they tend to get overlooked. At the top of the page you will see in a green box "post a question". Click on that and then type your questions. Doing this will also start a thread that is pretty much dedicated to you. I do know there are a few members that recently got off of fiorecet so they should be able to give you some advice.
I can say that if your best friends mom is not ready to get clean there is probably not much that can be done. Most addicts will only quit when they are good and ready. There are certain ways to go about talking to her about her problem but you have to be very careful. You just have to approach it tactfully. Does she admit to having a problem or does she say she has her use under control?
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1135275_tn?1326582465
butalbital addiction is horrible...i don't know how it compares to other drugs, but i do know that the high never lasts long enough with that drug so it's VERY easy to just keep taking more and more and more and more....

it's not as sedating as pentobarbital or secobarbital (nembutal and seconal) but it's just as addicting. a 7 day detox would never work with this drug if the person is taking a high dose...generally an addict will take 10-20 per day or sometimes more. at these doses, it's actually very dangerous to attempt a detox in only 7 days. i was forced to go cold turkey from 10 a day and it was HELL, believe me...pain like you would not believe and vomiting...luckily  thats all that happened.

obviously the person will have to want to stop before any treatment can be effective at all.

and yes, it's probably better that you start your own post. you'll get more input that way.
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Avatar_n_tn
Fiorinal has codeine in it and as far as I know, they don't make it w/o codeine, hence the reasoning for a controlled substance.  Fioricet comes with and without codeine.  The codeine is the key to whether or not you get a controlled rating.
Both are very addictive and I'm finding more doctors who won't prescribe it or when a different doctor finds out that you take them, they want you to discontinue them.
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1135275_tn?1326582465
fiorinal comes 2 ways...with and without codeine. both are C-III substances...including the one WITHOUT codeine. this would lead you to believe that butalbtial is a C-III substance, but unfortunately they only rated the compound as a C-III, and not the actual drug since you can't get just plain butalbital. this means then other compounds do not automatically have to be a C-III substance just because they have butalbital in them, and so they aren't. fioricet, phrenelin, phrenilin forte, esgic...they're all different forumlations containing the same amount of butalbital but without being controlled. however, codeine in and of itself is controlled, which means that the other formulations that do contain codeine DO have to be controlled.

its very confusing and doesn't make a lot of sense. its also very surprising that this drug continues to make it under the radar...phenobarbital is the least abusable barbiturate there is because of its very long half life, and yet even it is controlled.

but the key actually is the fact that only certain formulations containing butalbital are c-III, where as the drug itself isn't....even though those formulations don't contain codeine so the only reason they are c-III is because of the butalbital.

its all very retarded, and this an old post. i just thought i would add this because butalbital is actually considered a C-III even though it isn't. butabarbital (very similar to butalbital) is a C-III, and both are very similar to amytal which is a C-II...so all in all it SHOULD be controlled but it isn't. its still flying under the radar like soma, tramadol, and a few others. i think it will eventually change though.
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Avatar_f_tn
Mayberry~  I know...it's just crazy. Fiorinal and Fioricet are scheduled differently...I don't know why "the powers that be" didn't ask us!!
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DJ   This post is 10 years old but your info is great!
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Avatar_m_tn
My doctor gave me Fioricet for my headaches last week and I am 6 months pregnant and he says it is fine to take while I am pregnant because regular over the counter pain meds was not helping but I am some what afraid to continue using it from what I read on this site I dont want to become addicted or my baby girl be born addicted to it, but it really does work but it kinda makes me feel high because he told me to take 2 every 4 hours if needed but no more than 6 in one day, would any of you guys just stop taking it and suffer the headaches, or just take one at a time thanks everyone. Fallon
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Avatar_f_tn
I'd only take one at a time and discuss it with your doctor at the next visit. That's just me.
If the doctor prescribed it we need to trust that. As long as you don't take it every single day and only when needed,I think you'll be fine. It's when you take it every day just for the fun and love of it that problems arise. Again though,chat with your OB about it so he can reassure you!

Good luck with your baby girl!!
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1135275_tn?1326582465
yeah, talk to your doctor. i just wouldn't like the idea of taking it while pregnant, though.

link:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/151758-the-effects-of-barbiturates-on-the-fetus-in-pregnancy/

there are more sources for information about barbiturates during pregnancy. if i were you, i would not take it no matter what the doc is telling you. i ordinarily would never say that, but the information just doesn't support it. ask about excedrin instead or aspirin free excedrin. whichever...but barbs during pregnancy seems to be a bad idea. and yes, taking them daily can result in the baby being born addicted.
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1135275_tn?1326582465
benzodiazepines are typically thought to be ok during pregnancy...perhaps your doctor is assuming that barbiturates will be as well...however, the two drug classes are not the same. if you go along with what your doctor says, at least educate yourself on the possible outcome. simply type "barbiturate use during pregnancy" into any search engine and read through the sites that pop up...then decide.
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Avatar_f_tn
Matt--   I was thinking the doctor here probably feels the prn use is fine being that we're not talking about a fetus anymore. At 6 months,that's a baby!

I've read (it's been awhile) that Valium was tetrogenic to a developing fetus; first trimester.

Fallon--Give the doctor a call tomorrow to put your mind at ease and/or discuss another med for the headaches.
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1135275_tn?1326582465
yeah, i understand that. i don't know...if it were me, i would want it to be a last resort option even PRN...but thats me. her doctor trumps me, obviously. haha...but still, if it were me, i'd do the research before i took it. probably nothing at all will happen. its the 'probably' part i wouldn't be comfortable with, though. i'd have to be in a lot of pain to consider it.

then again, i will never give birth. easy for me to say!
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Avatar_f_tn
Ha!  Yes...easy for you to say!!   I agree with you...the benefit would have to far outweigh the risk.  I was "lily white" when I was pregnant,had a few headaches and muscled through.  Then one beautiful morning I was in a car wreck; hit by TWO cars running a red light. Totaled the Van and ME!!   It was a nightmare. I was in pain from my nose to my toes. They tried to give me vicodin in the ER. I said NO!!   Then the doctor came in who was female and said "Take it damnit"..."Don't be a blank blank hero!! "    It was funny as I look back but I didn't take it. I was afraid...  So,I know where you're coming from: It's all about the baby...
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1135275_tn?1326582465
well plus they come back 20 years later and say "oh you actually TOOK that while you were PREGNANT?"......you just never know what the future is going to reveal.

2 cars running a red light? wow...now thats a BAD day, vicki!
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh...a very bad day,indeed!  The two cars were racing,thought they could go through the red light because they didn't see me right smack in the turning lane. The first one hit at a high speed and spun the van. Then the second one lost control and hit the first car which hit me again!  That time it flipped the van on it's side...it was going pretty fast. Oh...and they were in high school,drunk,in the morning.   They should have gone to Catholic school like I did. We weren't even allowed to have cars or skip school or be late!!  That day makes "other things" seem like a piece of cake!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Butalbital in any form is a schedule III controlled substance federally.  However, it is exempted from certain regulatory requirements in certain formulations.  There is a misconception that it is not controlled because packaging does not contain the "C" on it.  That is just one of the exceptions given to this drug.  Make no mistake, if you distribute it illegally, you can be charged just like it was hydrocodone.
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1135275_tn?1326582465
fioricet, phrenilin, and esgic are all non-controlled substances. thats the real answer.
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1742522_tn?1311117847
Butalbiital and Foricet (Fioricet is the brand name, and  Butalbiital is the generic name.) There are two types of of Fioroicet/Butalbiital. One is without codeine which is not controlled
Fiorocet/Butalbital with codeine is controlled. The codeine in Fioricet is an opiate which makes it controlled. Without the codeine it is not controlled. Both contain phenobarbital, caffeine, and acetaminaphin..          
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1135275_tn?1326582465
thats absolutely not true. you should have read the entire thread before posting that response. phenobarbital alone is a controlled substance, and is the LEAST likely barbiturate to be abused due to its insanely long half-life and very poor high. secondly, phenobarbital (PB for short) is a different drug than butalbital. butalbital has a much shorter half-life, a much quicker and stronger high, produces much greater euphoria, and gives a much bigger crash landing when discontinued abruptly. PB is rarely found in migraine meds these days.

butalbital/ASA/Caffeine 50/325/65 has no opiate in it and is a C-III. codeine is NOT what makes this drug a controlled substance. similar drugs to butalbital, like amytal, are C-II substances...same class as morphine.
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Avatar_f_tn
I take Fioricet and I also was curious about why it isn't controlled, yet Fiorinal is. The reason is that the US has an exact ratio used to define a drug as controlled or not l. Butalbital would be the ingredient in this example to cause control. There has to be a specific amount of another medication (acetaminophen, aspirin, etc.) in it to go meet their criteria for controlled substances. There is not enough aspirin in Fiorinal to meet the ratio limit (as there is obviously more acetaminophen used in Fioricet). So Fiorinal must be controlled. Google it. I'm probably not explaining it well. It's stupid but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

And I know I'm 13 years late, but Soma is most definitely a controlled substance. Lol
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