Butalbital is a type of drug known as a barbiturate. It is a central nervous depressant. Doctors prescribe butalbital for a variety of reasons. Most of the prescriptions are intended to treat seizures, pain, or anxiety. Barbiturates are also used for sedative purposes. While doctors do not prescribe barbiturate medications as much as they used to prescribe them, people still abuse the drugs.
Barbiturates such as butalbital may cause physical dependence and many people have overdosed on these medications. Today, doctors prescribe a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines more often than barbiturates. Regardless of the prescribed drug you use, if you have become addicted to drugs, you should consider reaching out to a addiction treatment center right away.
Doctors may also prescribe butalbital with other types of medications, including codeine, aspirin, caffeine, and acetaminophen. These combinations are prescribed for tension headaches or migraine headaches. While butabital is not the most commonly prescribed medication for these issues, it is still sometimes given to help treat them.
Some brand-name medications that include butalbital include Axocet, Esgic, and Fioricet. According to the United States DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), butalbital is a schedule III controlled substance. This means that the drug has a moderate abuse potential and possible physical dependency factors and may produce addiction as well.
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Just like some other barbiturates, butalbital may cause people to feel euphoric. They may feel stress-free, relaxed, or even intoxicated. The sense of euphoria and relaxation is what helps to relieve the migraines and headaches someone might be experiencing. These same effects are what also causes the drug to be so addictive. Some other side effects associated with butalbital include the following:
- Decreased reaction times
- Motor coordination issues
- Balance issues
- Decrease in thinking speed
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Lethargy, drowsiness, or feelings of relaxation
- Stomach cramps, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting
- Shortness of breath
These are some of the more common side effects associated with this drug. Less common side effects of butalbital include the following:
- Rashes and itching
- Breathing problems
- Issues with swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Severe fatigue or lethargy
- Ringing in the ears
- Black and tarry stools
- Leg pains or cramping
If you experience any of these side effects of butalbital, you should consult the prescribing doctor immediately. Don’t forget that many people have become dependent upon this medication and even become addicted to it. If you think you are addicted to this drug, be sure to reach out for help right away.
Since butalbital is a central nervous system depressant medication, it depresses bodily functions, which may lead to impaired driving and other dangerous behaviors. Driving or operating machinery while under the influence of this medication is dangerous. If someone uses butalbital with other potentially harmful substances such as other barbiturates, narcotics, benzodiazepines, stimulants, or alcohol, the effects may be severe or even life-threatening.
There are many people who have overdosed on butalbital as well. Some possible butalbital overdose symptoms include the following:
- Slurred speech
- Impaired judgment and irrational behavior
- Feeling sluggish
- Depressed reflexes
- Coordination and balance issues
- Staggered gait and the appearance of intoxication
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
- Very low body temperature
- Extreme sleepiness or lethargy
- Limp muscles
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of an overdose of any drug or medication should seek immediate medical care.
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Potential for Butalbital Abuse and Addiction
Like other barbiturates, there is a high risk for abusing or becoming addicted to butalbital. People may become physically dependent upon drugs even if they have used them correctly and are not abusing them. Tolerance to barbiturate drugs may happen quickly, especially when someone is abusing the drugs.
When people develop increased tolerance to drugs such as butalbital, they often take more of them or take higher doses of them to achieve the same effects they experienced when they were taking lesser amounts or lower doses. Some of the signs someone may be abusing butalbital or have become addicted to this drug include the following:
- Obtaining the drug without having a prescription for it
- Using more of their prescription than prescribed and buying more from others
- Visiting multiple doctors (doctor shopping) to obtain multiple prescriptions or larger amounts
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and recovering from using this drug
- Taking the drug in ways not prescribed (grinding it up, snorting it, or mixing butalbital with other types of drugs)
- Appearing lethargic or drowsy or seeming to be intoxicated
- Spending more and more time alone or spending more time with other people who are abusing drugs or addicted to drugs
- Becoming defensive when people comment on their drug use
- Developing memory or attention issues
- Experiencing periods of restlessness, irritability, or feeling sick
- Continuing to use the drug despite the negative effects the drug has on their lives
If you can relate to any of these symptoms or signs, be sure to seek help right away. The sooner you receive help, the sooner you can stop using the drug and start feeling better.
As with other drugs, there is a high risk for becoming physically dependent upon butalbital. Those who have taken butalbital for longer periods of time (generally one to two months or longer) may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. The longer amount of time people use butalbital, the more likely they will experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal from this drug can be quite uncomfortable. The timeline for butalbital withdrawal generally:
- Begins hours or a few days after people last use the drug (depending on the users’ level of abuse and how much they abused)
- Includes symptoms such as fever, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased breathing rates, nausea, tremors, vomiting, ringing ears, fatigue, disorientation, anxiety, confusion, headache, migraines, seizures, cravings, and/or hallucinations
- Requires immediate medical attention to avoid life-threatening complications if people are severely disoriented or have seizures or hallucinations
- Lasts for up to seven days in the acute phase
- Diminishes after the acute phase, when symptoms may become less significant and less intense, although individuals may still experience fever, chills, nausea, irritability, anxiety, a general unwell feeling, and cravings for weeks
- Produces possible long-term problems such as anxiety, depression, sensitivity to stress, motivation issues, and cravings
Since the symptoms of withdrawal may be dangerous or even life-threatening, people who are looking to stop using this drug should seek experienced medical care and other professional treatment.
Medical detox programs may help you to stop taking butalbital. They provide continuous monitoring throughout the process. The detox program may administer medications to help make the detox process a little more comfortable. Professionals in the program may slowly taper you from those medications to make the detox process safer. Detoxing with a professional detox program may make your recovery process more successful.
Many individuals have substance abuse disorders. It is highly recommended that if you are one of them, you should find help from a long-term addiction rehab treatment center program. Such programs may help you address the underlying issues that caused your addiction in the first place. You may learn how to cope without using drugs, healthy and positive coping skills, how to avoid future relapses, and other useful things. Since people struggling with drug use often relapse from sobriety, longer-term treatments may be beneficial.
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Treatments for Butabital Abuse
While long-term programs may be beneficial for those suffering with an addiction to butalbital, there are other available treatments if you can’t participate in such programs. Some of these options include the following:
- Medical detox programs
- Outpatient programs
- Intensive outpatient program (IOPs)
- Sober living homes
- Short-term inpatient programs
- Recovery groups
You have many options available if you need to overcome an addiction to butalbital. You are not alone.
Facing an addiction or a substance abuse disorder can be scary. It is very common to feel nervous, upset, scared, or a wide range of other feelings. The good news is that there are professionals who know how you are feeling physically and emotionally. They know how to help you overcome an addiction and turn your life around. Make the call to get the help you need today. You will be glad you did when you start recovery and see there is so much more to life than how you have been living it.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.