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Stadol (injection)

Generic Name: butorphanol (injection) (byoo TOR fa nole)
Brand Name: Stadol

Medically reviewed: December 12, 2017

The Stadol brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.

What is butorphanol?

Butorphanol is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.

Butorphanol 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.

Important Information

You should not use butorphanol if you have recently used narcotic medications and have become dependent on them.

Butorphanol can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use butorphanol if you are allergic to it, or if you have recently used narcotic medications and have become dependent on them.

Some medicines can interact with butorphanol and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take stimulant medicine, herbal products, or 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 butorphanol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

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

Butorphanol can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness or breathing problems in a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is butorphanol given?

Butorphanol is injected into a muscle or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of needles, IV tubing, and other items used.

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Butorphanol can slow or stop your breathing. Never use butorphanol in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

Butorphanol 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 butorphanol is against the law.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

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

Store butorphanol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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 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. A butorphanol overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, very slow breathing, or coma.

What should I avoid while using butorphanol?

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

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how butorphanol will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Butorphanol side effects

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

Like other narcotic medicines, butorphanol 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;

  • a slow heart rate or weak pulse;

  • fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • problems with urination;

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

  • confusion, feeling like you are floating.

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.

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

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect butorphanol?

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 interact with butorphanol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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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