What Is Butalbital Prescribed For

What Is Butalbital Prescribed For?

Butalbital is a barbiturate-based drug that is used for pain relief and special kinds of headaches. These headaches include tension and vascular headaches. Vascular means anything related to vessels that are the veins and the arteries in the body.

Butalbital is used in combination with other pain-relieving medicines like acetaminophen and aspirin etc. Typically if you have been prescribed a Butalbital 40 mg pill, it will be in combination with other pain-relieving agents.

The use of Butalbital as an independent agent has been discontinued. It probably has to do with certain side effects and responses occurring because of it. It can cause intoxication, dependence, hangovers, etc.

Even deaths have been observed in cases of overdosage resulting from dependence and addiction. For these reasons, the use of butalbital even in combination with other medications is only prescribed when it is essential and other medicines or treatments have not achieved healing.

Symptoms And Conditions

Butalbital is usually prescribed for pain-relieving in cases of chronic pains that other medicines do not seem to help. It will be prescribed along with a combination of other medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen to achieve the pain-reducing and alleviating effects. It can be prescribed to treat physical pain in any part of the body.

It is prescribed in a combination of drugs because then it can be administered in lower dosages and the rest of the similar effect-creating dosages can be compensated by other medicines. It is avoided to prescribe this drug alone because then it would have to be in higher dosages and the side effects caused because of will be severe as well.

Apart from the general pain-relieving purposes, it is prescribed in cases of tension and vascular-based headaches. Vascular means anything to do with the vessels in the body. These vessels consist of veins and arteries. So these headaches are the ones where you can specifically feel the throbbing pains in the veins on your forehead and head.

These headaches are mostly generated due to high-stress levels or physical strains and a lack of rest and sleep. Highly busy routines and no time for relaxation can create and amplify this condition. If this headache is severe and common pain relievers are not doing the job, you may be prescribed butalbital pills in combination with other drugs. If the headache is not that severe, the dosage might be lower.

Since this kind of headache is the result of stress and exhaustion, it might be better to add some mild antidepressants along with the combination of the physical pain-relieving medications. The lower levels of stress and anxiety will help with alleviating the headache as well.

Hence, butalbital is used for the common purpose of alleviating and reducing pains but it is not hugely recommended as compared to other pain reliever agents. It is prescribed in combination with other medicines in the specific case of tension-based, vascular headaches because that condition normally is not tackled by other common pain-alleviating drugs.

Read More: What is Butalbital?


The dosage may vary according to the individual’s needs condition and symptoms. It can start from as low as 5 mg and go up to 100 mg and even higher. It is recommended to administer butalbital in low dosages and compensate for achieving the desired effects by adding other medicines targeting the same conditions and producing the same effects. The dosage can be increased if the results are not achieved with lower dosages.

For chronic pain conditions anywhere in the body, the dosage starts at 10 mg to 20 mg daily. It is recommended to administer the dosage in parts. Butalbital is not recommended to be consumed in children younger than twelve.

In the tension-based vascular headaches case, the dosage usually starts at 40 mg with a butalbital pill and goes up to 100 mg per day. In some rare severe cases, it can go higher up to 200 mg per day. It is mostly prescribed to be consumed in parts.

For elderly people, the dosage should be kept low and the desired effect should be achieved mostly by other medicines in combination because the side effects risk factors are increased with aged and elderly people.

People vulnerable to severe adverse effects or dependence like elderly people or people with a history of addiction should be especially careful when using butalbital. The physician might add some antidepressants to their prescription along with the pain relievers so that the anti-anxiety and muscle-relaxing effects can be compensated and the dosage of butalbital can be reduced in such individuals.

Side Effects Of Butalbital

Butalbital is one of the drugs with a tendency of creating more severe side effects that can end up being dangerous as well as fatal. More commonly occurring side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, fever, and muscle tightening and pain. Other side effects include twitching, trouble swallowing, agitation, insomnia, heartburn, itching, pain in the legs, frequent urge to urinate, and allergic reactions.

While butalbital is used for a particular kind of headache, it can even cause a headache when consumed in higher dosages or for a long period. However, this headache caused as a side effect can be dealt with by using simple pain-fighting agents like aspirin and ibuprofen, or the medicines usually prescribed for migraine.


While butalbital is given in combination with similar medicines aiming for similar effects, the coadministering of these medicines should be done with care so that it does not border on overdosing. The excessive dosage of similar effects creating medicines can be toxic and hence should be done carefully.

Butalbital has been seen to create a serious adverse reaction when combined with any sodium oxybate-containing medicines. Therefore, care should be observed to not consume these medicines with butalbital.

There are a large number of medicines actually that butalbital does not work well with. Hence it’s important to have your physician familiar with all the medicines you are already taking and you should not start any new medicine without consulting with a physician while taking butalbital.


Butalbital is highly addictive and can create great dependency. The side effects associated with a higher dosage of this pill are already highly hazardous. Consuming it further than prescribed can be dangerous and an overdose of this medicine can prove to be fatal. Patients should be observed so that they do not develop a dependency on this drug. Unusual personality traits and behaviors and suspicious drug-consuming habits can be indications of dependency.

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