How Long Does Butalbital Stay In Your System?

Tension headache is a mild to moderate pain and is also described as a tight band around the head. It is a widespread type of headache that people frequently face. At times, tension headaches cause difficulty in carrying out daily tasks.

If your tension headache symptoms are worsening, your doctor may advise you to take medications to relieve the pain caused due to the headache. Butalbital is the most commonly prescribed medication for tension-type headaches.

What is Butalbital?

Butalbital medicine is a short to an intermediate active member of barbiturates that also has a muscle-relaxing effect. It is used as a combination medication with acetaminophen, paracetamol, aspirin, and caffeine or codeine. It has a sleep-inducing and anxiety-reducing effect on the patient. Butalbital is a barbiturate medicine that causes relaxation and sleepiness and acts as a central nervous system depressant. 

How does Butalbital function?

Butalbital works as a sedative that helps reduce anxiety and causes sleepiness and relaxation. 

It produces central nervous depression that ranges from mild sedation to general anesthesia. It reversibly depresses the activity of excitable tissues, including the central nervous system, in a non-selective manner. The aspirin helps to decrease the pain from the headache, while the caffeine helps enhance the effects of aspirin.

What are the possible side effects of Butalbital?

The common side effects of Butalbital include-

  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Memory Loss
  • Diarrhea

As your body adjusts to the Butalbital dose, the side effects should lessen with time. However, if they do not decrease with time, it would be best to inform your physician, who will alter your dosage accordingly.

 The severe side effects include-

  • Frequent mood changes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Heartburn
  • Signs of kidney problems
  • Discomfort when swallowing and easy bruising or bleeding

If you notice any severe side effects, it would be best to stop taking Butalbital and look for immediate medical help.

How long does Butalbital stay in your system?

Butalbital will likely stay in your system for up to 7 or 10 days after the previous dose. The factors influencing the time of elimination are age, metabolism, kidney and liver function, etc. A drug’s half-life is the time it takes half of the active drug to leave the body, and the half-life of a drug remains unchanged irrespective of the dose or duration of treatment. 

This pill has a half-life of 35 hours, meaning that half the active drug takes 35 hours to be eliminated from the body. A drug takes approximately 5 to 6 half-lives to be eliminated from the system. For an average person it would take 8 to 9 days to leave your system.

Specific tests can detect Butalbital much later, even after the last dose. 

Urine– Butalbital can be detected in the urine tests for up to 7 days 

Blood– Blood tests can see Butalbital for up to 72 hours after the last dose

Saliva– Detectable levels in saliva tests can find Butalbital for up to 2 days after the previous dose

Hair– Hair tests have an extended detection window and may be able to detect Butalbital for up to 90 days post the last amount.

Precautions to be taken while using Butalbital

If you suddenly stop using Butalbital, you may face withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, mood changes, and seizures. It would be best if you decreased your dosage with time as directed by your physician to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If you have been using Butalbital for a long time, you may develop a tolerance or dependence.

It is advised that you don’t increase your dosage on your own without consulting your doctor when you feel the medication isn’t working for you. It can be addictive and habit-forming, especially if you have a history of misuse or abuse of substances. If that is the case, you should inform your physician, who will adjust your dosage accordingly and suggest you monitor your dose intake regularly.

How should you have Butalbital?

The dosage prescribed to each patient will differ based on the medical condition and the response to treatment. For oral dosage forms like capsules and tablets, One or two pills every four hours can be consumed by adults and children above the age of 12. However, it is suggested that you don’t take more than six doses in a day or exceed more than 4000 milligrams of acetaminophen.

Butalbital is an orally prescribed medication; you can have it every four hours as needed or as instructed by your physician. You should not take more than six doses daily and not lie down for about 10 minutes after having the dose to avoid an upset stomach. You can also take this with food or milk to prevent stomach problems. 

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