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Butorphanol Tartrate (Torbugesic®, Torbutrol®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Pain control is increasingly important in veterinary medicine as more is learned about the perception of pain in animals. Drugs used to control pain are called analgesics. These drugs are also used in anesthesia, often combined with tranquilizer drugs as pre-anesthetic drugs or post-operatively.
  • Butorphanol belongs to a general class of drugs known as opiate agonists. Other related drugs in this class include buprenorphine, fentanyl, meperidine and morphine.
  • The drug has significant pain control and sedation properties but does not last long.
  • In addition to pain control and sedation, butorphanol will alleviate coughing.
  • Butorphanol is a controlled drug. Accordingly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States (and similar regulatory agencies in other countries) strictly control these drugs. Controlled drugs are classified into categories ("schedules") based on abuse potential. These drugs require prescription by a veterinarian with an appropriate DEA license, and any refills are tightly controlled and regulated., scheduled as a class IV drug and is only available through veterinarians with an active DEA license.
  • Butorphanol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals and humans.
  • Human formulations: Stadol® (Mead Johnson)
  • Veterinary formulations: Torbugesic® (Fort Dodge) and Torbutrol® (Fort Dodge)

    Uses of Butorphanol

  • Butorphanol is used primarily for Pain relief and to treat coughing.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, butorphanol can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Butorphanol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or [[rol||allergy|An immune response to a medication. Signs of allergy can include skin reactions, facial swelling, hives, difficult breathing and vomiting. If you notice these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.]] to the drug.
  • Butorphanol should be used with caution in animals with an under active thyroid, kidney impairment, elderly or severe illness.
  • Butorphanol should also be avoided in animals with head trauma or nervous system dysfunction.
  • Butorphanol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with butorphanol. Such drugs include tranquilizers, barbiturates and antihistamines.
  • The most significant side effects associated with butorphanol are sedation, lack of appetite and diarrhea.

    How Butorphanol Is Supplied

  • Butorphanol is available in 1 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.
  • Butorphanol is also available in 0.5 mg/ml, 1 mg/ml, 2 mg/ml and 10 mg/ml injectable form.
  • A 10 mg/ml nasal spray is also available.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • To control pain, butorphanol is dosed at 0.05 to 0.4 mg per pound (0.1 to 1 mg/kg) two to six times per day.
  • To control coughing, butorphanol is dosed at 0.025 to .05 mg per pound (0.055 to 0.11 mg/kg) two to four times per day.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.




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