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Fioricet Tapering and Rebound Headaches

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Old 10-31-2007, 12:23 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: US
Posts: 82
MvingForwrd HB User
Fioricet Tapering and Rebound Headaches

New kid on the block with a question . . .

I've been taking Fioricet off and on for many years for migraines and tension headaches, but it wasn't until a recent extended run of bad headaches that I found myself fighting off an addiction. I had taken 3-4 pills a day for several weeks straight, and when I tried to stop, I got the shock of my life. I had the physical symptoms of withdrawal, mainly the shakes. A really, BIG TIME case of the shakes.

Since I hadn't been hooked for that long, I tried to taper off. I guess I've been really fortunate in that it's working, and I've been able to taper off to where I'm now only needing one pill a day. The darned thing is, I'm barely getting the shakes anymore - it's rebound headaches. Every morning by 10AM I have a BAD headache that only the fioricet will fix, and then, only sometimes. Sometimes I take one, and the headache continues and eventually worsens into a migraine. But I won't, WON'T take more fioricet and start that cycle up again. I have Imitrex that I can take for the migraines, but I have a hard time dealing with the side effects of that drug (chest pains and so forth), so I hate to take that unless it's absolutely necessary. I sure can't be taking it every day.

I've tried OTC meds, like Tylenol and Advil, but nothing seems to help, not even a little. Is there any formula, maybe a combination of OTC meds that might help? Or should I try a really gradual taper from that last fioricet, like cutting the pills and going down to 3/4, then 1/2? My doc says rebound headaches can last two weeks or more. UGH! Guess I should be counting my blessings though. As bad as they are, the rebound headaches are a million times better than the shakes.

I suppose I could just stay with one Fioricet a day, as my doc will prescribe that, but after going through that period of withdrawal, I now realize what an addictive substance it is, and think it's probably best for my body to get off of it, and get back my original "as needed" dose.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for listening.

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Old 10-31-2007, 05:24 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: US
Posts: 82
MvingForwrd HB User
Re: Fioricet Tapering and Rebound Headaches

Thanks for the reply, Reach. Fioricet is a pain medication (brand name butalbital) . . . pretty sure it's considered a controlled substance but is not an opiate. Imitrex is a non-narcotic migraine drug. It works by somehow altering blood vessels in the brain, and also on seratonin. Most people I've talked to have experienced the same lousy side effects that I have. It DOES help with migraine pain, but I get chest pain, muscle pain, dizziness, you name it. It's an awful drug.

I also have Vicodin for my migraines, but I'm SO careful about using that as I've heard opiate withdrawal can be a lot worse than fioricet withdrawal. The shakes from the fioricet were bad enough.

I actually got up the nerve to place a call to my doctor for advice on the rebound headaches. She won't be too thrilled to hear that I took enough to reach that point, but I'm okay with fessing up to rebound headaches. I did NOT want to have to fess up to addiction, so thank goodness it looks like I may have beaten that one on my own. Hopefully she'll have some advice, though I'm not optimistic. I have a feeling that I'm in for a few weeks of killer headaches, no matter what.

I guess I have to look at the bright side, that I've probably beaten the worst of it, and there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks so much for the words of advice, especially on the slow taper. It helps SO much just to find a place like this where I can talk to other people in similar situations. I'm really happy to have found these boards.

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