Buprenex : Uses, Side effects and Interactions

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Qudsiya Raiees, MD Written by - Dr. Shaheen Shah


What is Buprenex?

Buprenex (buprenorphine hydrochloride) is the trade name prescription drug to treat severe pain in adults and children between the ages of 2 and 12 years. Doctors recommend Buprenex only when all other medicines fail to relieve the pain.

Buprenex is an opioid (narcotic) medicine usually prescribed for short-term treatment. It acts on the central nervous system to give pain relief.

Buprenex (buprenorphine hydrochloride) is the trade name prescription drug to treat severe pain in adults and children between the ages of 2 and 12 years. Doctors recommend Buprenex only when all other medicines fail to relieve the pain.

Facts of Buprenex

  • Buprenex is FDA (The Food and Drug Administration, United States) approved drug for chronic pain, acute pain, and opioid dependence.
  • Buprenex is also available in its generic form 1Overview| Researched based study from

Category of drug

  • Buprenex contains buprenorphine as the active ingredient. Buprenorphine belongs to the class of drugs called partial opioid agonists. Buprenex has a lower risk of addiction compared to other opioid.
  • Partial opioid agonists produce opioid responses in cells at a lower capacity.

Mode of action

  • Buprenex works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Opioid receptors are proteins regulating pain messages between the brain and body parts 2Overview| Researched based study from


Dosage of Buprenex

The commonly used doses of Buprenex are as follows:

  • The Buprenex dose depends on certain factors, such as the age, severity of the pain, and previous and present medication.
  • The doctor will start with a minimal dose and then adjust it with time for the smallest amount right for the patient, giving desired effects.

People (above 12 years)

  • Buprenex is given as a 1 mL (0.3 mg) injection. If the pain does not subside in 60 minutes, a second dose of 1 mL injection is given.

Adults with severe pain (19 years and above)

  • Buprenex is given upto 2 mL (0.6 mg) for each dose

Children (between 2 to 12 years)

  • The dose depends on the weight of the child
  • The recommended dose is 2 to 6 micrograms per kg in one injection.
  • If the pain does not subside in the first dose, the doctor will give additional doses, but the interval between the doses will be six to 8 hours, depending on the child’s response to Buprenex 3Dosage| Researched based study from

However, taking the exact dose as the doctor prescribes is best.

Formulation of Buprenex

  • The drug is available in vials as a liquid solution. It comes in one power (strength) of 0.3 mg/mL 6Dosage| Researched based study from

How to administer Buprenex?

One can receive Buprenex injections at a hospital or doctor’s office. The doctor gives Buprenex in 2 forms:

  • Intramuscularly (an injection in the muscles)
  • Intravenously (as an injection through the veins for a while)

However, the doctor will best decide which way to administer the drug based on the patient’s health condition as well as the severity of the pain 7Dosage| Researched based study from


Uses of Buprenex

Buprenex is a popular drug in following cases:

  • Pain Treatment
  • Treating opioid dependence
  • Off-label uses

Treating Pain

  • Buprenex is used to ease severe pain that is ineffective with other treatments. Both Chronic and acute pain can be treated.

Opioid dependence

  • For individuals enduring addiction therapy, it is a useful alternative for alleviating opioid dependency, lowering desires, and enhancing their social life.

Off-label use

  • Buprenex might also be used off-label for other medical conditions. Withdrawal for hospitalized patients who are addicted to heroin is one off-label application.4Uses| Researched based study from

Side effects

Side effects of Buprenex.

Side effects of Buprenex

Mild side effects

  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance (vertigo)

Serious side effects

  • Dependence on the drug
  • Slow, ineffective breathing
  • Severe low blood pressure
  • Severe constipation
  • Skin rash
  • Skin flushing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling in the face, lips, mouth, and tongue
  • Difficult breathing
  • Irregular pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe headaches that don’t go away
  • Tremors and seizures in the newborn
  • Adrenal insufficiency (weight loss, muscle weakness, extreme tiredness)
  • Serotonin syndrome(diarrhea, shivering, feeling confused, fever, seizures) 5Side effects| Researched based study from


Overdose toxicity of Buprenex

Taking Buprenex more than the recommended dose can lead to serious side effects.

However, if one has accidentally taken the overdose on the drug, in that case, one should immediately contact the emergency medical number based on the geographical location or rush to the nearest emergency room.

Some of the overdose symptoms are mentioned below:

  • Blockage in the airways
  • Abnormal snoring
  • Slowed breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold Skin
  • Dilated pupil than usual
  • Coma
  • Death

One can treat Buprenex overdose with a drug known as Naloxone. Naloxone quickly reverses opioid overdose. However, it is best to consult with the doctor about Naloxone before using it for overdose 8Overdose| Researched based study from


What precautions are required when taking Buprenex?

Before taking Buprenex, one must consult with the doctor if they are suffering from any of the medical conditions:

  • Nursing mothers must avoid breastfeeding while taking Buprenex as the drug can travel into the breast milk during breastfeeding.
  • Older adults who are incredibly ill must consult the doctor before taking Buprenex as it might cause respiratory depression 9Precautions| Researched based study from

Also if they are have one or more problems like,

  • Head injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Heart problem
  • Liver problem
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Stomach problem
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizure disorder
  • Adrenal gland disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Pregnant or trying to conceive 9Precautions| Researched based study from


Who should avoid taking Buprenex?

Buprenex might not be suitable for people with the following medical condition:

  • Who are allergic to Buprenex or any other ingredient of the drug
  • With diseases of the digestive system
  • People on anti-depression medication
  • ONE with asthma
  • People with lung problems
  • If suffering from intestinal blockage 10Contraindications| Researched based study from


Interactions of Buprenex

Buprenex might interact with several drugs. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs
  • Antidepressant drugs (amitriptyline, citalopram) 11Interactions| Researched based study from
  • Antibiotics (rifampin, erythromycin)
  • Anxiety medication (oxazepam, lorazepam)
  • Migraine medication(sumatriptan, eletriptan,almotriptan)
  • Nausea medication(ondansetron, dolasetron)
  • Stomach problem medication(hyoscyamine, dicyclomine)
  • Travel sickness medication(scopolamine)
  • Fungal infection medication(ketocanazole, fluconazole) 12Interactions| Researched based study from

However, Buprenex might also interact with other drugs not mentioned in the list. So it is always essential to talk to the doctor about the medical condition before taking Buprenex.


Cost & Storage of Buprenex

  • The cost of Buprenex will vary based on the geographical location, insurance coverage, and the pharmacy from which one is availing.
  • The generic drug form cost lower than the brand name drug Buprenex.

Storage of Buprenex

  • Buprenex can be stored at room temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees centigrade.
  • Buprenex must be kept in original packages in a dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Buprenex must be kept out of reach of children and young kids.


Alternatives to Buprenex

Other drugs are also available to treat pain. Some may suit one better than the other.

Some examples of other drugs that can treat pain are as follows:

  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Tramadol
  • Levorphanol
  • Hydromorphone
  • Pentazocine
  • Meperidine 13Alternatives| Researched based study from


Key Takeaways

  • Buprenex is an FDA-approved opioid drug for managing severe pain
  • One can take Buprenex injections in a hospital or doctor’s office
  • Buprenex’s sudden discontinuation can lead to withdrawal symptoms, so one must follow the discontinuation process as the doctor advises
  • Buprenex has potential warnings and side effects. So, exact doses are to be followed as prescribed by the physician.
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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