Has anyone tried Fioricet for their (A)TN?

Hi group,

Lately I've been coming down with terrible (what my doctor and I believe to be) tension-headaches on a fairly regular basis in addition to my almost-daily TN pain. For anyone familiar, a headache can knock whatever wind you have left right out of your sails when already experiencing TN pain. For me, it is a sentence to bed for the rest of the day. No questions asked. So I recently asked my doctor to prescribe for me a monthly course of 45 Fioricet. Then last night, I tried the Fioricet for the primary purpose of alleviating my ATN (or at least to help me to better cope) as I am doing my best to avoid going back on Tegretol full-time. ( I hate Tegretol because I can't even drive on that stuff safely.) Within 30 minutes of taking two tablets, I felt better than OK. I felt functional and motivated.

The problem with this drug, for me, is that it is short-acting and contains APAP (liver-destroying acetaminophen) so if my pain persists, I must redose at the risk of insult to my liver. I have already suffered Kidney failure twice. Once due to NSAID-induced trauma. Another problem with Fioricet is that it contains an inebriating barbituate. I have already been on opiates and benzo's for years starting with my appointment to get opiates after the renal failure and refusal to insult my kidneys with NSAID's any longer. I have had severe headaches since I was about 25 years-old and have been on opiates since about age 31. So I already risk inebriation and possible addiction to opiates and Valium and I am afraid of adding a barbituate into the mix. I really don't feel like adding another dependency.

I find very scant information regarding other's experiences with Fioricet and their (A)TN. A quick Google search provides very little information either for or against it. Even regarding the drug's intended use as a headache reliever. On this site, only a brief mention of the drug appears on a search.

Maybe what I experienced with the drug was a coincidence and my pain was due to go into remittance before I took my headache pills.

On an aside, they say that Tegretol's efficacy in treating (A)TN is a litmus test of sorts to indicate whether a person really has TN or not. I passed that test with flying colors as not only is my (A)TN pain alleviated, but the side I am treating for, goes numb after a few weeks. But I can't help but wonder if I am experiencing headache symptoms in my face, somehow, instead of (A)TN. Or perhaps my headaches and (A)TN are intricately-related enough that treatment for one helps the symptoms of the other. As I have stated, when I have both, I am so laid-up that I just cancel everything for the next 12 hours and resign myself to sleep. Tegretol does not work for headaches, to my knowledge, unless it is prophylactic in nature (I don't recall having these headaches while on Tegretol regularly).

So that leads me to another, quick question: How related are the headaches to (A)TN? Am I unique in experiencing the two together regularly? I can not be.

Anyway, my question to anyone who is still reading is whether or not anyone has had success with Fioricet in the management of their (A)TN. Any thoughts regarding anything I have mentioned is much-appreciated.

Best Regards to All,

Melissa Turffs

Since all it consists of is Tylenol, caffeine, and butalbital (a barbiturate), I find it unlikely that it would help ATN very much. However, I do know one person who takes phenobarbital (a different barbiturate) and he feels it helps him, but he uses it more for the anxiety of the pain.

A lot of ATN patients also experience headaches. You are not unique in that. However, Fioricet is certainly not a first-line drug of choice in treatment of any form of Trigeminal Neuralgia. I would think that if severe headache is becoming an issue for you, your neurologist might wish to try you on a medication known to suppress migraine. Tegretol usually doesn't have that action, at least not that I know of.

You have a rather complex medical history, Melissa, including a history of renal failure that makes Tylenol in any form a potential problem for you. Having also been prescribed opiate drugs, tends to complicate this history. Thus I think you really need to be advised by a pain management specialist, rather than by non-professionals such as we have in this forum. To prepare for such a consultation, you may find it useful to do a drug interactions survey for your existing meds, at http://www.drugs.com.(see bottom left menu on their home page).

Regards and best,


I tried my Fioricet for my TN II and it didn't do anything. I was hoping it would at least cut the headache a bit, but nothing. Percocet takes the edge off a little. But most pain meds, I'm told, don't do a lot for the TN pain. But they do help with the muscular headache pains that I get with the TN pain. Good luck to you!

I have been on Fioricet for years due to my migraines, and I have looked to them to possibly assist in my ATN pain, and I have not gotten any relief in that area. But for my migraines, they will knock it out within 30 min.