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Stadol Side Effects

Generic Name: butorphanol

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug butorphanol. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Stadol.

For the Consumer

Applies to butorphanol: injection solution

Other dosage forms:

As well as its needed effects, butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking butorphanol, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

Less common:
  • Cough producing mucus
  • difficulty breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in chest
  • wheezing
  • Blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • slow or fast heartbeat
Incidence not known:
  • Bluish lips or skin
  • false beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
  • not breathing
  • seizures

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking butorphanol, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Change in consciousness
  • extremely shallow or slow breathing
  • irregular heartbeats
  • loss of consciousness
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in hands and feet

Minor Side Effects

Some butorphanol side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Dizziness
  • nausea
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • vomiting
Less common:
  • Bad unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
  • bloody nose
  • body aches or pain
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • change in taste
  • clammy skin
  • congestion
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in ears
  • cough
  • dry mouth
  • dryness or soreness of throat
  • ear pain
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • fear or nervousness
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • fever
  • floating feeling
  • flushing or redness of skin, especially on face and neck
  • headache
  • hearing loss
  • heat sensation on body
  • hoarseness
  • loss of appetite
  • nasal irritation
  • runny nose
  • shakiness
  • skin itching
  • sleeplessness
  • sneezing
  • stomach pain
  • stuffy nose
  • tender, swollen glands in neck
  • trouble in swallowing
  • trouble sleeping
  • unable to sleep
  • voice changes
  • weight loss
  • Sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known:
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • lack or loss of strength
  • problems in speaking
  • sensation of spinning

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to butorphanol: injectable solution, nasal spray


The manufacturer has reported that in clinical trials (n=2,446), approximately half of the patients received butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) injection and the other half received butorphanol nasal spray. The type and incidence of side effects with butorphanol by either route were consistent with those commonly found with opioid analgesics.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system effects including somnolence (43%), dizziness (19%), insomnia (11%), anxiety, confusion, euphoria, floating feeling, nervousness, paresthesia, and tremor have been reported.[Ref]


Respiratory effects including nasal congestion (13%), bronchitis, cough, dyspnea, epistaxis, nasal irritation, pharyngitis, rhinitis, sinus congestion, sinusitis, and upper respiratory infection have all been predominantly reported from long term trials with butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) nasal spray.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal effects including nausea and/or vomiting (13%), anorexia, constipation, dry mouth, and stomach pain have been reported.[Ref]


Asthenia/lethargy, headache, and a sensation of heat have been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular effects including vasodilation and palpitations have been predominantly reported from long term trials with butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) nasal spray.[Ref]


Dermatologic effects including sweating/clammy skin and pruritus have been reported.[Ref]


Ear pain, tinnitus, and unpleasant taste have been predominantly reported from trials with butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) nasal spray.[Ref]


Ocular effects including blurred vision have been reported.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal effects including a case of fibrous myopathy have been reported in a patient abusing intramuscular butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) [Ref]


Elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of butorphanol (the active ingredient contained in Stadol) Clinical studies of butorphanol administered via the intranasal route have reported that elderly patients had an increased frequency of headache, dizziness, drowsiness, vertigo, constipation, nausea and/or vomiting, and nasal congestion, compared with younger patients.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Stadol (butorphanol nasal)." Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.

2. Wagner JM, Cohen S "Fibrous myopathy from butorphanol injections." J Rheumatol 18 (1991): 1934-5

It is possible that some side effects of Stadol may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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.