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Butorphanol is in a class of morphine type, narcotic pain medications. Route of administration is by injection into a muscle, or it is available via nasal spray. It is like any other medication has side effects and should not be taken if there are certain health concerns.

Butorphanol is not one of those medications that can be abruptly stopped. If one has been receiving this for any length of time and suddenly stops taking it, there could be reactions of a severe nature. The doctor will gradually lower the dose until the person is no longer taking it. This procedure will help to eliminate any of the dangerous side effects. It does not mean the person is addicted.  Addiction, in essence, is when someone is taking a drug for recreational reasons and not as medically prescribed.

About Butorphanol

ButorphanolButorphanol is a synthetic narcotic drug that the Bristol-Myers company developed. Doctors prescribe the drug for mild to severe pain. Examples of situations for which a doctor may prescribe the drug are the post-surgical pain, back pain, migraine headaches, severe menstrual cramps or labor pains. Butorphanol is a Schedule IV narcotic, and it is available in tablet, injectable salt and nasal spray forms. As with all narcotic substances, Butorphanol works by affecting the pain receptors in the brain. The chemical changes that take place cause the patient to receive pain relief. However, some adverse reactions may occur when a patient takes the drug in high doses. Even without high doses, Butorphanol may become addicting.

Butorphanol Dosage

The brand name form is Stadol. The dosage varies depending on the form of the medication. For example, a person may have to spray the drug one time in one of his or her nostrils once every 90 minutes. Needle recipients such as women in labor may have to have 2 mg every four hours. Geriatric dosing may include .5 mg of the drug once every four to six hours.

Butorphanol Side Effects

Butorphanol has some side effects that a person may experience after he or she takes it. Dry mouth is one of the most common non-serious problems that may occur. The affected person may feel the strong urge to drink liquids because of the dry mouth. Eight to 10 glasses of water per day should solve the problem. Blurred vision is another side effect that may occur when someone is taking Stadol. Blurred vision is extremely dangerous in a driving situation, and an affected person should seek professional help for the issue immediately.

There are two classes of side effects. The more serious side effects would include, of course, any allergic reactions such as swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, breathing difficulty, itching, and hives, or to a lesser degree a skin rash. In the event that this happens one needs to seek medical attention due to the possibility of anaphylactic shock.

Other serious side effects that need to be reported to the doctor are:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Vision changes
  • Confusion
  • Heart irregularities
  • A feeling of being lightheaded or as if one may faint.

Like many drugs, the use of Butorphanol can be addicting and one can easily overdose. If overdosing happens, seizures and twitching of the muscles may develop. It should not be mixed with other narcotics due to their serious side effects. Addiction will develop if taken with sedatives, antihistamines, and/ or if the person is on any depressants.

Potentially High Risk of Addiction

All narcotics are high risk when it comes to addiction. The high probability comes from the way the drug works. Stadol affects the rewards system of the brain. People who take it experience two pleasurable outcomes. First, their pain goes away when the drug hits the system. Secondly, they experience a sense of euphoria or overwhelming happiness. The happiness may make the person feel as if he or she has won an award or contest. Addiction usually occurs when a patient becomes accustomed to the euphoric feelings. The familiarity causes the person to expect a routine. Drug abuse and addiction may occur once the person has built up a tolerance and needs to take the drug daily to feel better.

Signs of Butorphanol Addiction

Addiction to Butorphanol can cause several signs and symptoms. The most common side effects of Butorphanol abuse are a lack of concentration, euphoria, poor judgment, memory loss and grogginess. The person may even start falling asleep in the middle of the day because the drug makes him or her feel comfortable. Additionally, the patient may experience a strange taste in the mouth. A dry throat is another symptom that a person may get.

The person may express euphoria by smiling, laughing or staring blankly into oblivion. Poor judgment may be involved in that person’s decisions because of the devil-may-care attitude. Memory loss may be insignificant, or it may be severe. An affected person may lose hours or days of time.

Butorphanol may have psychological symptoms as well as physical symptoms. For example, the persons may experience delusions and hallucinations. Delusions occur when a person believes that he or she is a superhuman or such. Hallucinations occur when a person sees things that are not there. The person may claim to see a monster or a large pink bunny. One never knows what will occur when hallucinations come into play. Preoccupation is another symptom that an addicted person will have. The individual may spend hours thinking about how he or she can get more of the drug. The thoughts may cause the person to contemplate engaging in criminal activity or spending all of his or her available funds to obtain additional drugs.

Breathing problems have been associated with Butorphanol side effects. A person may experience shallow breathing, rapid breathing, or full-blown breathing problems that cause blueness in the lips.

Signs of Butorphanol Withdrawal

Butorphanol withdrawal is a painful process that occurs when a patient stops taking it abruptly. A patient may have to go through withdrawal symptoms after he or she runs out of a prescription for Butorphanol. Withdrawal symptoms also occur in a person who has recently ended an addiction and entered a rehabilitation program. The withdrawal process can be one of the most painful processes that a person has ever gone through in his or her life. The most common symptoms of narcotic withdrawal symptoms have to do with the digestive system. A person may experience the unpleasantries of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea shortly after stopping his or her dosage.

Muscle cramps and sweating may occur when the withdrawal symptoms kick in, as well. Another symptom that is common in narcotic withdrawal is muscle cramps. Some psychological effects are bound to occur when a person stop using Butorphanol. Some of those effects are irritation, depression and anxiety. Anxiety is an overwhelming sense of fear in a person. Depression is a deep sadness and feeling of hopelessness that a person cannot shake no matter what he or she does. Irritation is a quick angry feeling that can occur with or without cause. Withdrawal can cause any of those reactions to occur.

Drugs That Can React With Butorphanol

Some drugs can enhance the side effect that occur when a person takes Butorphanol. An example of a drug that can enhance or increase negative side effects is alcohol. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant, as is Butorphanol. A person can easily become drowsy to the point of danger for mixing the two items together. A patient should not ingest alcohol or any other medications that depress the nervous system as the mixture can cause coma or death. Persons should use the utmost care with their Stadol prescriptions.

Butorphanol Addiction and Treatment Options

A person with a Butorphanol addiction will need close supervision at our inpatient rehabilitation center to safely withdraw from Butorphanol and achieve lasting recovery.  To learn more about Butorphanol and how we can help if you do have an addiction, please contact one of our specialists today.

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