Generic Name: buprenorphine (byoo-pre-NOR-feen)
Brand Name: Buprenex
Buprenorphine is used for:
Treating moderate to severe pain.
Buprenorphine is a narcotic analgesic. It works by working in the brain and nervous system to decrease pain.
Do NOT use buprenorphine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in buprenorphine
- you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using buprenorphine:
Some medical conditions may interact with buprenorphine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of blood or electrolyte problems, breathing or lung problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), underactive thyroid, adrenal gland problems (eg, Addison disease), liver or kidney problems, an enlarged prostate gland, trouble urinating, a blockage of your bladder or urethra, gallbladder problems, or stomach problems
- if you have a history of recent head injury, growths in the brain (eg, tumor), or increased pressure in the brain, or muscle problems (eg, myasthenia gravis)
- if you have a history of mental or mood problems, drug or alcohol abuse, or if you have a physical dependence on narcotic medicines (eg, morphine) or other opiates (eg, heroin)
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with buprenorphine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole), HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), or macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin) because the side effects of buprenorphine may be increased
- Benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam), cimetidine, narcotic pain medicine (eg, codeine), phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), or sodium oxybate (GHB) because the risk of severe drowsiness, severe breathing problems, and seizures may be increased
- Naltrexone or rifampin because the effectiveness of buprenorphine may be decreased
- Methadone because effectiveness may be decreased by buprenorphine
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if buprenorphine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use buprenorphine:
Use buprenorphine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Buprenorphine is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using buprenorphine at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
- If buprenorphine contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
- If you miss a dose of buprenorphine, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use buprenorphine.
Important safety information:
- Buprenorphine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to buprenorphine. Using buprenorphine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking buprenorphine. Buprenorphine will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
- Buprenorphine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Alcohol, hot weather, exercise, and fever can increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Also, sit or lie down at the first sign of dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness.
- Buprenorphine may cause withdrawal symptoms if you have a physical dependence on narcotic medicines (eg, morphine) or other opiates (eg, heroin). Talk with your doctor if you are dependent on narcotic medicines or other opiates.
- Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using buprenorphine.
- LAB TESTS, including liver function tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use buprenorphine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially decreased breathing and drowsiness.
- Use buprenorphine with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking buprenorphine, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using buprenorphine during pregnancy. Buprenorphine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking buprenorphine.
When used for long periods of time or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking buprenorphine. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.
If you suddenly stop taking buprenorphine, you may experience WITHDRAWAL symptoms including anxiety; diarrhea; fever, runny nose, or sneezing; goose bumps and abnormal skin sensations; nausea; vomiting; pain; rigid muscles; rapid heartbeat; seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there; shivering or tremors; sweating; and trouble sleeping.
Possible side effects of buprenorphine:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; nausea; sweating; vomiting;
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); anxiety or nervousness; dark urine; fast or irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); pale stools; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; slow or shallow breathing; unusual weakness; vision changes; yellowing of eyes or skin.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include excessive drowsiness; severe dizziness; very slow and shallow breathing; very small pupils.Proper storage of buprenorphine:
Buprenorphine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using buprenorphine at home, store buprenorphine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.
- If you have any questions about buprenorphine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Buprenorphine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take buprenorphine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about buprenorphine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to buprenorphine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using buprenorphine.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More buprenorphine resources
- buprenorphine Injection Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- buprenorphine Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- Buprenex injection Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- Buprenex Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Buprenorphine Hydrochloride Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Subutex Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information