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butalbital / aspirin / caffeine (fiorinal)

available over the counter: no

uses: treatment of headaches and migraines

mechanism of action: butalbital is a barbiturate which effects the central nervous system to cause sedation; aspirin interferes with prostaglandins (which cause inflammation); caffeine potentiates the effectiveness of pain relievers

side effects
• commom: dizziness, drowsiness, heartburn
• less common: nightmares, insomnia, constipation
• serious: chest tightness, difficulty breathing, coughing, sore throat

concerns: butalbitral is a barbiturate, and may cause physical dependence; kidney damage may occur with prolonged use; do not drive or use heavy machinery;  do not take medication if it has a strong vinegary odor


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