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Aspirin, Butalbital, and Caffeine

(as' pir in) (byoo tal' bi tal) (kaf' een)

Brand Name(s): Farbital®, Fiorinal®Fiormor®Fiortal®Fortabs®Idenal® )Isollyl®Laniroif®, Lanorinal®; also available generically

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

[Posted 10/15/2020]

AUDIENCE: Consumer, Patient, Health Professional, Pharmacy

ISSUE: FDA is warning that use of NSAIDs around 20 weeks or later in pregnancy may cause rare but serious kidney problems in an unborn baby. This can lead to low levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and possible complications.

For prescription NSAIDs, FDA is requiring changes to the prescribing information to describe the risk of kidney problems in unborn babies that result in low amniotic fluid.

For over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs intended for use in adults, FDA will also update the Drug Facts labels, available at: http://bit.ly/2Uadlbz. These labels already warn to avoid using NSAIDs during the last 3 months of pregnancy because the medicines may cause problems in the unborn child or complications during delivery. The Drug Facts labels already advise pregnant and breastfeeding women to ask a health care professional before using these medicines.

BACKGROUND:

NSAIDs

  • are a class of medicines available by prescription and OTC. They are some of the most commonly used medicines for pain and fever.
  • are used to treat medical conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, headaches, colds, and the flu.
  • work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.
  • are available alone and combined with other medicines. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and celecoxib.

Common side effects of NSAIDs include: stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

RECOMMENDATION:

Consumers/Patients

  • If you are pregnant, do not use NSAIDs at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy unless specifically advised to do so by your health care professional because these medicines may cause problems in your unborn baby.
  • Many OTC medicines contain NSAIDs, including those used for pain, colds, flu, and insomnia, so it is important to read the Drug Facts labels, available at: http://bit.ly/2Uadlbz, to find out if the medicines contain NSAIDs.
  • Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns about NSAIDs or which medicines contain them.
  • Other medicines, such as acetaminophen, are available to treat pain and fever during pregnancy. Talk to your pharmacist or health care professional for help deciding which might be best.

Health Care Professionals

  • FDA recommends that health care professionals should limit prescribing NSAIDs between 20 to 30 weeks of pregnancy and avoid prescribing them after 30 weeks of pregnancy. If NSAID treatment is determined necessary, limit use to the lowest effective dose and shortest duration possible. Consider ultrasound monitoring of amniotic fluid if NSAID treatment extends beyond 48 hours and discontinue the NSAID if oligohydramnios is found. FDA is warning that use of NSAIDs around 20 weeks gestation or later in pregnancy may cause fetal renal dysfunction leading to oligohydramnios and, in some cases, neonatal renal impairment.
  • These adverse outcomes are seen, on average, after days to weeks of treatment, although oligohydramnios has been infrequently reported as soon as 48 hours after NSAID initiation.
  • Oligohydramnios is often, but not always, reversible with treatment discontinuation.
  • Complications of prolonged oligohydramnios may include limb contractures and delayed lung maturation. In some postmarketing cases of impaired neonatal renal function, invasive procedures such as exchange transfusion or dialysis were required.
  • If NSAID treatment is deemed necessary between 20 to 30 weeks of pregnancy, limit use to the lowest effective dose and shortest duration possible. As currently described in the NSAID labels, avoid prescribing NSAIDs at 30 weeks and later in pregnancy because of the additional risk of premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus.
  • The above recommendations do not apply to low-dose 81 mg aspirin prescribed for certain conditions in pregnancy.
  • Consider ultrasound monitoring of amniotic fluid if NSAID treatment extends beyond 48 hours. Discontinue the NSAID if oligohydramnios occurs and follow up according to clinical practice.

For more information visit the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation and http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety.

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

This combination of drugs is used to relieve tension headaches.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

HOW should this medicine be used?

The combination of aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine comes as a capsule and tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken every 4 hours as needed. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine exactly as directed. Do not take more than six tablets or capsules in 1 day. If you think that you need more to relieve your symptoms, call your doctor.

This medication can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before taking aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to aspirin, butalbital, caffeine, other pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin), or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially acetazolamide (Diamox); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antidepressants; antihistamines; corticosteroids such as prednisone; medications for arthritis, gout, diabetes, or pain; methotrexate; sedatives; sleeping pills; tranquilizers; and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, porphyria, bleeding problems, nasal polyps, ulcers, or a history of depression.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, call your doctor.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine may cause an upset stomach. Take this medicine with food or milk.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • drowsiness
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing
  • ringing in the ears
  • bloody or black stools

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. This medication is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.


This report on medications is for your information only, and is not considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, please consult your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® represents that the information provided hereunder was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to such information and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Users are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and the information is provided for informational purposes only. The entire monograph for a drug should be reviewed for a thorough understanding of the drug's actions, uses and side effects. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information is not a substitute for medical care.

Pronunciation Guide for Drug Names is used with permission. © 2009. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. All Rights Reserved.

AHFS® Patient Medication Information™. © Copyright, 2020. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®, 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: November 15, 2020.