How should I use buprenorphine?
Never use buprenorphine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Using buprenorphine improperly will increase your risk of serious side effects or death. Even if you have used other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from buprenorphine. Follow all dosing instructions carefully. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Buprenorphine is injected into a muscle or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, syringes, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
Buprenorphine is usually given at evenly spaced intervals, up to 6 hours apart. Tell your doctor if buprenorphine does not relieve your pain within 1 hour after an injection.
Prepare your dose in a syringe or IV only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
This medicine can cause irritation if it gets on your skin. If this occurs, remove any clothing the medicine has spilled onto, and rinse your skin with water.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using buprenorphine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not stop using buprenorphine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using buprenorphine.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you use buprenorphine. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are using buprenorphine. Make sure your family members know you are using buprenorphine in case they need to speak for you during an emergency.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new ampule. Buprenorphine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since buprenorphine is used on an as needed basis, you are not likely to miss a dose. Never use buprenorphine in larger amounts, or more often than recommended by your doctor.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of buprenorphine can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness or weakness, cold or clammy skin, slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, or slow breathing (breathing may stop).