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Buprenorphine (oral/buccal)

Generic Name: buprenorphine (oral/buccal) (BUE pre NOR feen (OR al / BUK al))
Brand Name: Belbuca

Medically reviewed on March 26, 2018

What is buprenorphine buccal?

Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic.

Buprenorphine oral (buccal, placed between the gum and cheek) is for around-the-clock treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain that is not controlled by other medicines. buprenorphine is not for use on an as-needed basis for occasional pain.

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

Important Information

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

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

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

Before taking this medicine

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

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

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.

You should not breast-feed while you are using buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take buprenorphine buccal?

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

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

Drink a glass of water to moisten your mouth. Use dry hands when handling the buccal film. Place the film against the inside of your cheek and hold it in place for 5 seconds. Once in place, the film will dissolve completely in about 30 minutes. Do not chew the film or swallow it whole.

Do not eat or drink anything until the film has completely dissolved in your mouth.

You may need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using buprenorphine.

Do not stop using buprenorphine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using buprenorphine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the medicine in a place where a child cannot get to it. Keep track of your medicine. Buprenorphine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

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, remove any unused films from the foil pack and flush the films down the toilet. Throw the empty foil pack into the trash.

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 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. A buprenorphine overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness or weakness, cold or clammy skin, severe muscle weakness, pinpoint pupils, weak pulse, very slow breathing, or coma.

What should I avoid while taking buprenorphine buccal?

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

Avoid applying the buccal film to an area where you have a mouth sore.

Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how buprenorphine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Buprenorphine buccal 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.

A person caring for you should 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;

  • slow heartbeat or weak pulse;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • chest pain, fast heart rate, trouble breathing;

  • severe constipation;

  • opioid withdrawal symptoms--shivering, goose bumps, increased sweating, feeling hot or cold, runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea, muscle pain;

  • low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness; or

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.

Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

Common side effects may include:

  • constipation, nausea, vomiting;

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;

  • increased sweating;

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • pain anywhere in your body.

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 buprenorphine buccal?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

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:

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

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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