nalbuphine (Nubain)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

What is nalbuphine- injection, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Nalbuphine is a man-made opioid (narcotic) painkiller. Nalbuphine provides pain relief in a similar way as morphine (MS Contin), oxycodone (Oxycontin), and other narcotic analgesics. Narcotic painkillers stimulate the brain to increase the threshold to pain (the amount of stimulation it takes to feel pain) and reduce the perception of pain (the perceived importance of the pain). Nalbuphine is a mixed opioid agonist and antagonist because it stimulates and blocks pain receptors on nerves. The FDA approved nalbuphine in May 1979.

What brand names are available for nalbuphine- injection?

Nubain

Is nalbuphine- injection available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for nalbuphine- injection?

Yes

What are the side effects of nalbuphine- injection?

Side effects of Nalbuphine are sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, headache, and low heart rate. Like other narcotics nalbuphine can cause respiratory depression (decreased rate or depth of breathing).

It may produce withdrawal in opioid dependent patients. Nalbuphine is a controlled substance and is habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur. Abruptly stopping the drug in patients who have been taking the drug for a long time can precipitate a withdrawal reaction. Symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, diarrhea, coughing, tearing, nasal discharge, profuse sweating, twitching muscles, and yawning.

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