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Nalbuphine Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to nalbuphine: injection solution

Along with its needed effects, nalbuphine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking nalbuphine:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fainting
  • false beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
  • redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sense of detachment from self or body
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
Incidence not known
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • convulsions
  • coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum
  • decrease in consciousness
  • difficult, fast, or noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing
  • fear or nervousness
  • fever
  • hyperventilation
  • increased sweating
  • loss of bladder control
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • pale skin
  • shakiness in legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • stomach pain
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • swelling in legs and ankles
  • trembling or shaking of hands or feet

Some side effects of nalbuphine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • nausea
  • relaxed and calm
  • sensation of spinning
  • sleepiness
  • sweaty, clammy skin
  • vomiting
Less common Rare
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • aggressive or angry
  • belching
  • blurred vision
  • burning
  • changes in speech
  • confusion
  • cough
  • discouragement
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • dysphoria
  • excessive crying
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • feeling of heaviness
  • feeling of warmth
  • feeling sad or empty
  • floating feeling
  • frequent strong or increased urge to urinate
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • hives or welts
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • itching of skin
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • nervousness
  • numbness
  • pounding in the ears
  • restlessness
  • skin rash
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • tingling feeling of unreality
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at site

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nalbuphine: compounding powder, injectable solution

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have frequently included sedation (36%), dizziness/vertigo (5%), and headache (3%). Nervousness, depression, restlessness, crying, euphoria, floating, hostility, unusual dreams, confusion, faintness, hallucinations, dysphoria, feeling of heaviness, numbness, tingling, and unreality have been reported in less than 1% of patients. A depressed level of consciousness, somnolence, tremor, anxiety, agitation. and seizures have also been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects have included hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, and tachycardia.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have frequently included nausea/vomiting (6%) and dry mouth (4%). Cramps, dyspepsia, and bitter taste have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included respiratory depression, dyspnea, asthma, and pulmonary edema.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included itching, burning, and urticaria.[Ref]


Other side effects have frequently included a sweaty/clammy feeling (9%). Speech difficulty and flushing/warmth have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects have included urinary urgency.[Ref]


Ocular side effects have included blurred vision.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity reactions have included anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions including shock, respiratory distress, respiratory arrest, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, hypotension, and laryngeal edema. Some of these allergic reactions may be life-threatening. Death has been reported following severe allergic reactions to nalbuphine. Stridor, bronchospasm, wheezing, edema, rash, pruritus, nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, weakness, and shakiness have also been reported.[Ref]


Local side effects have included pain, swelling, redness, burning, and hot sensations at the site of injection.[Ref]


General side effects including abdominal pain and pyrexia have been reported.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Nubain (nalbuphine)." Endo Laboratories, Texarkana, TX.

Some side effects of nalbuphine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.