What should I know about barbiturate combinations?

Butalbital is a short-acting sedative. It can be combined with aspirin or acetaminophen. Doing so can help relieve pain more effectively. These combinations may also have caffeine added to them because caffeine can help relieve pain, too.

You need to use medications with butalbital carefully. Using more than the recommended dosage or using them more than twice a week can cause rebound headaches and addiction.

How do barbiturate combinations work?

Barbiturates help by reducing the brain's sensitivity to pain. The sedative effects also can relax you. That will help relieve the causes of tension-type headaches. It will also help reduce the anxiety that comes with migraines.

What are the possible side effects from using barbiturate combinations and what should I do about them?

There are 2 side effects that are rarely considered serious. They are sedation and rebound headache. You should check with your doctor if either of these side effects occur while you are taking this medication, however. Since these medications can make you drowsy, avoid driving or using heavy machinery if you take them.

The following side effects are more serious. You should get the advice of your doctor if any of them occur:

  • addiction
  • an increase in depression
  • low blood pressure
  • worsening of a kidney condition

What drugs may interact with barbiturate combinations and what other health conditions might create a problem?

Talk with your pharmacist and your doctor about possible interactions when you are taking medications with barbiturates. Be sure you tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the other medications you are taking and about any other medical conditions you have. It is important that you keep your regular appointments with your healthcare provider so that your doctor can monitor your progress while you are taking these medications.

Mixing medications that contain barbiturates with any of the following can be dangerous. Talk with your doctor before taking medications with barbiturates if you are using:

  • alcohol
  • cortisone drugs
  • heart medications
  • MAO inhibitors
  • narcotics
  • phenytoin
  • quinidine
  • seizure medications
  • valproic acid

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