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butorphanol (injection)

Pronunciation: bue TOR fa nol

What is the most important information I should know about butorphanol?

MISUSE OF OPIOID MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

Taking opioid medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

What is butorphanol?

Butorphanol is an opioid pain medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also used as part of anesthesia for surgery, or during early labor (if childbirth is expected to be more than 4 hours away).

Butorphanol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using butorphanol?

You should not use butorphanol if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe asthma or breathing problems; or
  • a stomach or bowel obstruction (including paralytic ileus).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • breathing problems, sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, recent heart attack; or
  • alcoholism or drug addiction.

If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Butorphanol is sometimes used during early labor, but using it just before childbirth can cause breathing problems in a newborn.

Ask a doctor before using opioid medicine if you are breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you notice severe drowsiness or slow breathing in the nursing baby.

How is butorphanol given?

Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Never use butorphanol in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to use more of this medicine.

Butorphanol is injected into a muscle or as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give your first dose and may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Never share opioid medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away opioid medicine is against the law.

Do not stop using butorphanol suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Store butorphanol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since butorphanol is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An opioid overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or no breathing.

Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone (a medicine to reverse an opioid overdose) and keep it with you at all times. A person caring for you can give the naloxone if you stop breathing or don't wake up. Your caregiver must still get emergency medical help and may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on you while waiting for help to arrive.

Anyone can buy naloxone from a pharmacy or local health department. Make sure any person caring for you knows where you keep naloxone and how to use it.

What should I avoid while using butorphanol?

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

What are the possible side effects of butorphanol?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should give naloxone and/or seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops;
  • a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • problems with urination;
  • confusion, feeling like you are floating;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or
  • high levels of serotonin in the body --agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

Serious breathing problems may be more likely in older adults and those who are debilitated or have wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.

Common side effects include:

  • nausea, vomiting;
  • drowsiness, dizziness;
  • dry mouth; or
  • warmth or redness under the skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect butorphanol?

Opioid medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:

  • other opioids --opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
  • a sedative like Valium --diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and others;
  • drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing --a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, medicine to treat mood disorders or mental illness; or
  • drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body --a stimulant, or medicine for depression, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or nausea and vomiting.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect butorphanol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about butorphanol injection.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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