Name: Buprenorphine (buprenorphine hydrochloride)

Trade Names: Temgesic, Buprenex

Preparation: Sterile injectable liquid packaged in 1ml vials, in boxes of 5 vials.  Each 1ml contains 0.3 mg buprenorphine, in pH adjusted water.

Description: Buprenorphine is an opioid analgesic (narcotic agonist/anatagonist) classed as a narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act.

Availability:  Buprenorphine is a controlled substance classified as an experimental drug in Canada, and must be obtained through a licensed veterinarian.  Regulations regarding security and record keeping apply.

Indications: For relief of moderate to severe pain, as in the post-surgical period.

Dosage: Consult the laboratory animal veterinarian.

Routes of administration: Intramuscular, subcutaneous, intravenous, oral

Duration of action: Six to twelve hours depending on the species.

Mechanism of analgesic action: Buprenorphine is a m agonist, and binds to m opiate receptors in the central nervous system.

Clinical pharmacology: Pain relief begins about 15 minutes after intramuscular injection and persists for 6 hours or longer.  Some sedation also occurs.  Buprenorphine is metabolised by the liver and clearance is related to hepatic blood flow.

Physiological effects:

     Cardiovascular: May cause a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

     Respiratory: Depression of respiration is observed.

Drug Interactions: Buprenorphine in the presence of other narcotic analgesics, sedatives or tranquilisers, or general anesthetics may cause increased CNS depression.  When used in such combinations the dose of one or both agents should be reduced.

Notes:  Buprehorphine has been incorporated into jello and fed to rats.  Oral administration requires higher doses because a significant amount of the drug is metabolised during the first pass through the liver.


Pain Management in Animals.  2000  Flecknell P and Waterman-Pearson A (eds). WB Saunders, London  184pp

Laboratory Animal Anesthesia.  1996.  Flecknell P.  Academic Press, London.  274 pp.