Buprenex is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals and is approved for use in humans by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as shown on the medication's label. It is therefore prescribed legally to dogs by veterinarians as an extra-label drug, because it has not been approved for use in dogs by the FDA. Buprenex, a drug derived from thebaine, an alkaloid of opium, thebaine, is 30 times more powerful than morphine and is rapidly absorbed by the body, lasting up to eight hours, according to PetPlace.com. The drug comes in liquid form and is usually administered intravenously, intramuscularly or by mouth, usually in a veterinary hospital. The most common side effect is sedation, although more serious side effects can occur under certain circumstances.
A dog metabolizes Buprenex through his liver, which means that giving it to a dog with liver disease can result in liver failure. A rare, but possible side effect of Buprenex is a slowed breathing rate in some dogs, so it should not be used to treat a dog with heart failure, head trauma or respiratory issues, recommends the Veterinary Partner website. The kidneys help filter out the medication in a dog's system and the drug is not recommended for use in dogs with kidney disease because of damage it could cause. Geriatric dogs or dogs with Addison's disease, an underactive thyroid gland, should also avoid the use of Buprenex, according to PetPlace.com. Side effects can be reversed with the administration of Naloxone, recommends the Veterinary Partner website.
Buprenex interacts badly with certain medications, so consult with your veterinarian regarding the interactions of Buprenex with other drugs that your dog is taking. Antihistamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers and other medications that cause drowsiness can severely increase the sedative effect of Buprenex and should not be given at the same time. If your dog is taking an monoamine oxidase inhibitor, you must wait two weeks before administering Buprenex because of the possible dangerous interactions between the medications, recommends the Veterinary Partner website.
Considerations and Alternatives
If your dog is taking a medication that may interact badly with Buprenex or has a condition that can worsen with the administration of the drug, have your veterinarian suggest alternative pain relievers. Other narcotic pain relievers that can be substituted for Buprenex include morphine, naloxone hydrochloride and pentanyl citrate, according to VetInfo. Have your veterinarian administer any drugs, including Buprenex, or give you specific dosing instructions for home care; follow the dosage carefully to avoid an overdose. Some alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, may be used to avoid the use of narcotic drugs to treat both acute and chronic pain in dogs, depending on the cause and intensity of the discomfort.