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Nubain Side Effects

Generic name: nalbuphine

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 27, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about nalbuphine. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Nubain.

Applies to nalbuphine: injection solution.


Injection route (Solution)

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of nalbuphine, particularly when used concomitantly with other opioids or central nervous system depressants. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of nalbuphine or following a dose increase. Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of nalbuphine and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Serious side effects of Nubain

Along with its needed effects, nalbuphine (the active ingredient contained in Nubain) 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:


Incidence not known

Other side effects of Nubain

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

Less common


Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nalbuphine: compounding powder, injectable solution.


The most commonly reported adverse reaction is sedation. Less frequently reported events have included sweaty/clammy, nausea/vomiting, dizziness/vertigo, dry mouth, and headache.[Ref]


Anaphylactic/anaphylactoid and other serious hypersensitivity reactions, including fatalities have been reported. Serious allergic reactions may include shock, respiratory distress, respiratory arrest, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, hypotension, or laryngeal edema. Other allergic type reactions reported have include stridor, bronchospasm, wheezing, edema, rash, pruritus, nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, weakness, and shakiness.[Ref]

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic/anaphylactoid, other serious hypersensitivity reactions and other allergic type reactions.[Ref]


Depression, dyspnea, and asthma have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]

Frequency not reported: Depression, dyspnea, asthma[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, tachycardia, fetal death[Ref]

Hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, and tachycardia have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]

Nervous system

Confusion, faintness, numbness, and tingling have been reported in less than 1%. Postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): Sedation (36%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, headache

Frequency not reported: Confusion, faintness, numbness, tingling

Postmarketing reports: Serotonin syndrome[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Nervousness, depression, restlessness, crying, euphoria, floating, hostility, unusual dreams, dysphoria, unreality

Nervousness, depression, restlessness, crying, euphoria, floating, hostility, unusual dreams, dysphoria, and unreality have been reported in less than 1% of patients. The incidence of psychotomimetic effects has been reported to be less than that which occur with pentazocine.


Cramps, dyspepsia, and bitter taste have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea/vomiting, dry mouth

Frequency not reported: Cramps, dyspepsia, bitter taste[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Sweaty/clammy

Frequency not reported: Itching, burning, urticaria[Ref]

Itching, burning, and urticaria have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Vertigo

Frequency not reported: Speech difficulty, flushing and warmth[Ref]

Speech difficulty, flushing and warmth have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Blurred vision[Ref]

Blurred vision has been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Urinary urgency[Ref]

Urinary urgency has been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Adrenal insufficiency

There have been postmarketing reports of adrenal insufficiency in patients taking opioids, generally for longer than 1 month.


1. Product Information. Nubain (nalbuphine). Endo Laboratories LLC. 2001;PROD.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.