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Nubain

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/1/2016
Nubain Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Nubain

Generic Name: nalbuphine (Pronunciation: NAL bue feen)

What is nalbuphine (Nubain)?

Nalbuphine is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.

Nalbuphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also used for treating pain just after surgery or childbirth.

Nalbuphine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of nalbuphine (Nubain)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • fast or slow heart rate;
  • cold, clammy skin;
  • confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • severe weakness or drowsiness; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • feeling nervous or restless;
  • depression;
  • strange dreams;
  • stomach pain, upset stomach;
  • bitter taste in your mouth;
  • skin itching or burning, mild rash;
  • blurred vision, slurred speech; or
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about nalbuphine (Nubain)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to nalbuphine.

Before you receive nalbuphine, tell your doctor if you have asthma or other breathing problems, liver or kidney disease, a slow heart rate, severe infection, gallbladder disease, mental illness, a history of head injury or brain tumor, or if you have recently had a heart attack.

Nalbuphine may be habit forming. Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug abuse or addiction.

Using nalbuphine may cause unpleasant side effects if you are already using other similar medicines. Using narcotic medications together can also increase the side effects of these medications.

Before you receive nalbuphine, tell your doctor about all other pain medicines you have recently used.

Nubain Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before I receive nalbuphine (Nubain)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to nalbuphine.

To make sure you can safely use nalbuphine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or other breathing disorder;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • a slow heart rate, or if you have recently had a heart attack;
  • a severe infection;
  • gallbladder disease; or
  • mental illness.

Nalbuphine may be habit forming. Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug abuse or addiction.

FDA pregnancy category B. Nalbuphine is not expected to harm an unborn baby during early pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Although this medication is sometimes used during labor and delivery, nalbuphine can cause serious side effects in the newborn when the mother has received this medication shortly before childbirth. Effects of nalbuphine in the newborn may include breathing problems, a slow heart rate, a blue-colored appearance, and weak or limp muscles. If you receive this medication during labor and delivery, your caregivers will watch your baby closely for any serious side effects of nalbuphine. These effects can usually be treated quickly in a hospital setting.

It is not known whether nalbuphine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is nalbuphine given (Nubain)?

Nalbuphine is injected under the skin, into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Nalbuphine is usually given every 3 to 6 hours as needed. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

You should not stop using nalbuphine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using nalbuphine.

Nubain Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Nubain)?

Since nalbuphine is given by a healthcare professional, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose (Nubain)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness and confusion.

What should I avoid while receiving nalbuphine (Nubain)?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how nalbuphine will affect you.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of nalbuphine.

What other drugs will affect nalbuphine (Nubain)?

Before using nalbuphine, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that can make you sleepy or slow your breathing (such as cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, anxiety, or mental illness). They can add to sleepiness or slowed breathing caused by nalbuphine.

Using nalbuphine may cause unpleasant side effects if you are already using other similar medicines. Using narcotic medications together can also increase the side effects of these medications.

Tell your doctor about all other narcotic pain medications you are using or have recently used. This includes:

  • codeine (Tylenol #3);
  • fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Lazanda, Onsolis, Subsys);
  • hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen);
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Palladone);
  • methadone (Methadose, Dolophine);
  • morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph);
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Combunox, Roxicodone, Percocet);
  • and many others.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with nalbuphine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about nalbuphine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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