Generic Name: buprenorphine (injection) (byoo pre NOR feen)
Brand Name: Buprenex
What is Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
Buprenorphine is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Buprenorphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Buprenorphine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
Buprenorphine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose. Never share buprenorphine with another person.
MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous effects could occur.
Buprenorphine may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken this medicine during pregnancy.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to buprenorphine.
Some medicines can interact with buprenorphine and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
any type of breathing problem or lung disease;
a history of head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
a history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
liver or kidney disease;
abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing;
Addison's disease (adrenal gland disorder);
problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid; or
if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. If you use buprenorphine 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 habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Buprenorphine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are using buprenorphine.
How should I use Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Buprenorphine can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never use buprenorphine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Buprenorphine may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away buprenorphine is against the law.
Buprenorphine is injected into a muscle or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, syringes, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
Buprenorphine is usually given at evenly spaced intervals, up to 6 hours apart. Tell your doctor if buprenorphine does not relieve your pain within 1 hour after an injection.
Prepare your dose in a syringe or IV only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
This medicine can cause irritation if it gets on your skin. If this occurs, remove any clothing the medicine has spilled onto, and rinse your skin with water.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using buprenorphine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not stop using buprenorphine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using buprenorphine.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you use buprenorphine. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are using buprenorphine. Make sure your family members know you are using buprenorphine in case they need to speak for you during an emergency.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new ampule. Buprenorphine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since buprenorphine is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of buprenorphine can be fatal, especially in a person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness or weakness, cold or clammy skin, slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, or slow breathing (breathing may stop).
What should I avoid while using Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with buprenorphine.
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how buprenorphine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Buprenex (buprenorphine injection) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Like other narcotic medicines, buprenorphine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
Even if you have used other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from buprenorphine.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
weak or shallow breathing, feeling like you might pass out;
blue lips or fingernails;
confusion, feelings of extreme happiness;
fast or slow heart rate;
little or no urination;
infertility, missed menstrual periods;
impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex; or
low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Common side effects may include:
dizziness, spinning sensation, weakness, tired feeling;
nausea, vomiting, constipation;
increased sweating, numbness or tingly feeling;
headache, depressed mood; or
blurred vision, double vision.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Buprenex (buprenorphine injection)?
Narcotic (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 narcotic medications--opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing--a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, sedative, tranquilizer, or antipsychotic medicine; or
drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body--medicine for depression, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with buprenorphine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Buprenex (buprenorphine)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about buprenorphine 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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.07.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: September 29, 2016