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Butorphanol (butorphanol tarate or Stadol) belongs to the opiate class of drugs and is designed primarily for the control of the perception of pain.
Drugs in this class are typically used as analgesics for chronic pain or surgical pain, as cough suppressants, as anti-diuretics, and for other uses. These drugs are associated with a number of specific risks that can relate to medicinal use or abuse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed a number of side effects associated with medicinal use of butorphanol. These are potential side effects that are associated with medicinal use, and obviously, individuals who abuse butorphanol and take it in much larger amounts than intended, or use it more frequently than intended, will risk more serious manifestations of these side effects. Abuse of the drug could lead to any of these side effects occurring as more intense manifestations or for lengthier periods of time.
According to WHO and a more recent article published in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, potential side effects associated with butorphanol by domain include:
Some rare symptoms include the development of seizures, hallucinations, and/or delusions.
Abuse and Physical Dependence
Perhaps one of the most significant risks of using butorphanol is the development of physical dependence on the drug and/or the development of a substance use disorder. WHO reported that after the drug’s approval, there were 35 emergency room incidents related to abuse of butorphanol, and in 1996, this number increased to 239. The number of emergency department visits declined significantly following the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of butorphanol as a Schedule IV substance, thus controlling its distribution. Stadol was discontinued recently and only generic forms of butorphanol remain available; however, the drug is still relatively difficult to obtain. Nonetheless, it can be a drug of abuse.
Individuals who develop substance use disorders to opiate drugs like butorphanol risk experiencing a number of the detrimental effects to their health, relationships, occupation, goals, and other important areas of life.
Some potential signs of the development of a substance use disorder as a result of abusing butorphanol include:
Attempting to “control” one’s own substance use disorder without outside assistance is often an exercise in futility. Individuals who have developed an opioid use disorder as result of abusing butorphanol should seek the assistance of a qualified substance use disorder treatment program. The process of recovery from a substance use disorder will include various facets.
Recovery will be far more successful if the individual approaches the recovery process as a long-term endeavor. Many individuals continue in aspects of their recovery for life, such as continuing to attend 12-Step meetings, community health groups, and psychoeducation groups, and participating in volunteer work in the community.