Butalbital in the treatment of headache: history, pharmacology, and efficacy.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Analgesics containing butalbital compounded with aspirin, acetaminophen, and/or caffeine are widely used for the treatment of migraine and tension-type headache. The butalbital-containing compounds are efficacious in placebo-controlled trials among patients with episodic tension-type headaches. Despite their frequent clinical use for migraine, they have not been studied in placebo-controlled trials among patients with migraine. Barbiturates can produce intoxication, hangover, tolerance, dependence, and toxicity. Butalbital can result in intoxication that is clinically indistinguishable from that produced by alcohol. Butalbital-containing analgesics can produce drug-induced headache in addition to tolerance and dependence. Higher doses can produce withdrawal syndromes after discontinuation. Butalbital-containing analgesics may be effective as backup medications or when other medications are ineffective or cannot be used. Because of concerns about overuse, medication-overuse headache, and withdrawal, their use should be limited and carefully monitored.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Silberstein, SD; McCrory, DC

Published Date

  • November 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 953 - 967

PubMed ID

  • 11903523

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0017-8748

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2001.01189.x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States