What is Fioricet and What is New Fioricet Formulation ?

What is Fioricet?

Fioricet is a combination medication. That is, it contains several different medications that work together to have a stronger effect.

The active ingredients in Fioricet are:

  • Acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol)
  • Caffeine
  • Butalbital

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever. It starts working in less than an hour to reduce headache pain. Caffeine is also useful for fighting a headache, and it increases the effectiveness of acetaminophen. Butalbital is a barbiturate, which is a sedating or relaxing type of medication. The butalbital in Fioricet helps reduce anxiety and cuts down on the restlessness caused by the caffeine.

New Fioricet Formulation

Per FDA guidelines recommending that manufacturers limit the dose of acetaminophen in prescription products, the formulation of fioricet has changed. “Old formulations” of fioricet contained 50 mg of butalbital, 325 mg of acetaminophen and 40 mg caffeine; “new formulations” contain 50 mg of butalbital, 300 mg of acetaminophen and 40 mg caffeine.

Manufacturers were allowed to make the “old formulation” of fioricet until January 1, 2014. Currently there is no move to remove or destroy the “old formulation”, allowing for an odd situation in which there could be two different formulations of fioricet in pharmacies.


Formulation DEA Schedule Butalbital (mg) Acetaminophen (mg) Caffeine (mg) Form
Old fioricet none 50 325 40 tablet
New fioricet CIII 50 300 40 capsule