What is Belbuca®?
Belbuca® (buprenorphine buccal film) is a strong opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain that is not controlled by other medicines.
Belbuca® buccal films are only intended to treat persistent severe chronic (long-term) pain, when pain relief is needed around the clock and when other treatment options are no effective in controlling pain. This medication is not used to treat pain on an “as needed” basis.
How to take Belbuca®
Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking Belbuca. Follow the prescription’s instructions carefully. Buprenorphine has the ability to slow or stop respiration. Belbuca should never be taken in greater doses or for longer than recommended. Tell your doctor if your pain medication isn’t functioning as effectively as it used to.
Even at regular doses, buprenorphine has the potential to become addictive. Never give this medication to someone else, especially if they have a history of drug abuse or addiction. ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH CAN RESULT FROM THE MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE, EVEN IN CHILDREN OR OTHERS WHO DO NOT HAVE A PRESCRIPTION. It is illegal to sell or give away Belbuca.
To keep your mouth moist, drink a glass of water. Handle the buccal film with dry hands. Place the film against the inside of your cheek for 5 seconds and hold it there. The film will dissolve fully in about 30 minutes once it is in place. Do not chew or swallow the film whole.
Wait until the Belbuca film has completely dissolved in your mouth before eating or drinking anything.
You may require frequent blood tests to monitor your liver function while taking Belbuca.
If you need surgery, inform your doctor that you are taking Belbuca.
If you suddenly stop using Belbuca, you may have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Inquire with your doctor about the best way to stop taking buprenorphine safely.
Belbuca® Side Effects
Common Belbuca side effects may include:
- constipation, nausea, vomiting;
- headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
- increased sweating;
- sleep problems (insomnia); or
- pain anywhere in your body.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
If you have hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat as a result of an allergic reaction to Belbuca, get immediate medical attention.
If you have slow breathing with extended pauses, bluish tinted lips, or are difficult to wake up, someone caring for you should seek immediate medical treatment.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
- slow heartbeat or weak pulse;
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- chest pain, fast heart rate, trouble breathing;
- severe constipation;
- liver problems – nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
If you suffer signs of serotonin syndrome including agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, high heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, seek medical help immediately.
Serious adverse effects may be more common in seniors and people who are overweight, underweight, or disabled.
Long-term opiate use can impact men’s and women’s fertility (ability to produce children). The long-term consequences of opioids on fertility are unknown.