How Long Does Fioricet Stay in Your System?

Blue fioricet pills falling out of a prescription bottle

Fioricet is a prescription drug often used to treat tension headaches that contains the following active ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Butalbital 50 mg
  • Caffeine 40 mg

Each of these three ingredients stays in the body for different lengths of time, meaning that Fioricet can stay in the system for up to eight days.

Duration of Effects of Fioricet

The effects of Fioricet last for about 2–4 hours. It is normally prescribed as one or two capsules taken by mouth every 4 hours.

Fioricet Half-Life

The half-life of a drug refers to the time it takes for half of the dose to be eliminated from the bloodstream. Each ingredient in Fioricet has a unique half-life:

  • Acetaminophen: 2 hours
  • Butalbital: 36 hours
  • Caffeine: 6 hours

The body takes about five half-lives to eliminate a drug fully. Acetaminophen leaves the body in 10 hours and caffeine in 30 hours.

Butalbital has the longest half-life of the ingredients in Fioricet, so the elimination time of the drug is dependent on butalbital. Butalbital takes 180 hours, or almost eight days, to leave the body.

How Long Will Fioricet Show in a Drug Test?

Most standard drug tests will look for barbiturates, including the butalbital in Fioricet. Different types of drug tests may show traces of Fioricet for varying lengths of time. 


Several factors affect the detection window of Fioricet, but most urine tests will pick up butalbital use 3–7 days from the last dose.


Butalbital has a very long half-life and is detectable in blood for roughly 8 days. However, blood tests are not frequently used to detect drug use because they are expensive and invasive.


Butalbital, one of the main active ingredients in Fioricet, is detectable in saliva for 2–3 days.


All drugs have a similar window of detection in hair tests. During use, butalbital deposits into hair follicles and becomes locked in the hair. Most tests take 1.5 centimeters (cm) of hair because Fioricet can be detected in hair for 90 days.

Factors Affecting How Long Fioricet Stays in Your System

There are several factors that influence how long Fioricet stays in your system, including:

  • Amount used
  • Frequency of use
  • Age
  • Overall health

The detection window for Fioricet is most affected by how much of the drug someone uses and how often. Butalbital takes a long time to metabolize, so it will accumulate after only a few doses and remain detectable in the body for sometimes over a week.

False Positives for Fioricet

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen can trigger false positives for butalbital, but this happens less than 1% of the time. 

A positive drug test will usually be sent to another lab for a confirmation test called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). GC-MS tests are very sensitive and specific, so they will not typically report false-positives.

How Fioricet Is Broken Down in the Body

Butalbital is mostly filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and removed in the urine. Acetaminophen and caffeine are both metabolized and removed by the liver.

How to Get Fioricet Out of Your System

The only way to remove drugs from the body is to wait the appropriate amount of time. Metabolizing organs, like the kidney for butalbital, require time to eliminate drugs.

Key Points: How Long Does Fioricet Stay in Your System?

  • Fioricet contains the three drugs acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine
  • Butalbital can be detected in drug screening tests
  • Butalbital takes many days to leave the body, sometimes over a week
  • Most drug tests can detect butalbital for one week or longer

The only guaranteed way to pass a drug test is by not taking the drug. If you or a loved one struggle with an addiction to Fioricet, call The Recovery Village Ridgefield to learn more about treatment options.

Drost, Maureen L.; Walter, Leo. “Blood and Plasma Concentrations of Butalbital Following Single Oral Doses in Man.” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, November 1988. Accessed August 14, 2019.

Fritch, Dean; et al. “Barbiturate Detection in Oral Fluid, Plasma, and Urine.” Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, February 2011. Accessed July 30, 2019.

LabCorp. “Barbiturates, Screen and Confirmation, Urine.” 2019. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Psychemedics.Hair Drug Testing Facts.” 2015. Accessed July 30, 2019.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Fioricet Package Insert.” December 19, 2017. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.