Fioricet contains a combination of acetaminophen, butalbital, and caffeine Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer.
Butalbital is in a group of drugs called barbiturates. It relaxes muscle contractions involved in a tension headache.
Butalbital has generalized depressant effect on central nervous system and, in very high doses, has peripheral effects. Acetaminophen has analgesic and antipyretic effects mediated by a metabolite which acts at cannabinoid receptors, contrary to popular belief it is not an antiinflammatory at safe levels (it becomes toxic at doses above 1,000mg per dose and/or 3,000mg per day).
Caffeine is thought to produce constriction of cerebral blood vessels and serves to counteract the sedative effect of butalbital.
Butalbital has a half-life of about 35 hours. Acetaminophen has a half-life of about 1.25 to 3 hours, but may be increased by liver damage and after an overdose. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 to 7 hours
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It relaxes muscle contractions in blood vessels to improve blood flow.