What Is Buprenex For Cats

By Anaƫlle Laurent. March 17, 2020
What Is Buprenex For Cats

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Buprenex is a comercial medicine prescribed by a veterinarian as a pain reliever for our cats. It contains buprenorphine, an opioid analgesic. Only professionals can prescribe it to cats that are in need of it.

In this article from AnimalWised, we will explain everything you need to know about this medicine. Continue reading to learn how to administer buprenex, what it is, what exactly it's for, the risks, side effects and more.

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What is Buprenex for cats?

Buprenex is a commercial brand for buprenorphine for cats. Buprenorphine is an opioid analgesic used to treat pain or as a preanesthetic by professionals. Opioids are strong painkillers that block receptors in the brain and nervous system that signal when a part of the body is injured. These receptors are crucial for survival, as it helps the animal be aware of any damage they have on their bodies. However when treatment is underway or they are recovering from surgery, these sensations are no longer helpful. They are only painful and causes distress.

This is when a professional might prescribe buprenorphine (Buprenex) for you cat. Buprenex will reduce the distress in an injured or post-surgical cat by reducing the messages their brain receives about pain.

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What Is Buprenex For Cats - What is Buprenex for cats?

What is Buprenex for cats used for?

As we've previously explained, Buprenex is a powerful, long lasting painkiller. Due to this, it can be prescribed in various clinical situations. Although it is primarily used for post operative pain, it is also known to be used in the following situations:

  • Post operative analgesia: it is given to cats that have undergone some surgical intervention.
  • Pre-operative analgesia: it can also be part of the drugs administered before the operation. It sedates the animal and prepares them for general anaesthesia.
  • Chronic pain: buprenorphine is in the second line of action in these cases. However, it can be given with another medication to enhance the effect.
  • Acute infections: when other pain relievers are discouraged due to their side effects, Buprenex may be prescribed.

If your cat is acting strange and you suspect they're not well, we recommend you read our article on how to know if my cat is sick. We also recommend you bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

What Is Buprenex For Cats - What is Buprenex for cats used for?

Dosage of Buprenex for cats

Dosages can vary greatly depending on each cat's medical issues, their weight and their general health. It's also important to note that Buprenex is a very strong painkiller and if not properly handled, your cat can overdose. This is why the dosage must be assessed by a professional.

The FDA doesn't provide any information about Buprenex, this is because they have not approved the use of Buprenex for animals. In the UK, however, DEFRA does provide some information on buprenorphine dosage for cats. They state that the typical dose is 10 to 20 micrograms per kg body weight (2,2 lbs).

Nevertheless, it is up to your veterinarian to decide exactly how much Buprenex your cat needs and will receive. For your cat's safety, do not attempt to decide yourself, as there are many factors involved, not only your cat's weight.

How to administer buprenorphine to cats

Your next question may be how to give this medicine to your cat. When you veterinarian analyzes your cat's condition, they have a couple of options on how to administer Buprenex. This can either be done orally or via injection.

Veterinarians usually choose injection for a postoperative cat. Injecting Buprenex allows the medication to get into the bloodstream as fast as possible so that your cat won't lose any of the painkilling benefits. These infections are done by professionals at the clinic or animal hospital.

If you are asked to provide your cat with Buprenex at home, it will most likely orally ingested tablets. This form of buprenorphine is given to your cat in liquid form. It's recommended to be given by squirting it into the mouth, into the cheek pouch or under their tongue. Remember to measure the liquid doses very carefully, as this is a very strong drug. Follow your veterinarian's instructions attentively.

Although not usual, you may be asked to give Buprenex injections to your cat at home. If this is the case, your veterinarian will give you instructions on how to do so. Follow them very carefully.

What Is Buprenex For Cats - How to administer buprenorphine to cats

Risk factors

Buprenex for cats is not recommended in the following cases:

  • Cesarean section: Buprenex should not be used before surgery if the intervention is a cesarean section, as it may affect the breathing of fetuses. After surgery, it must also be used with caution.
  • Respiratory problems: cats who hace respiratory problems are advised to stay away from Buprenex as it could aggravate their respiratory system.
  • Liver problems: cats with kidney, liver or heart failure shouldn't take Buprenex as it can increase their health issues.
  • Allergy to opioids: cats who hare allergic to opioids or being treated with amitraz should not use buprenorphine.

Furthermore, there are no studies on the safety of administering Buprenex to kittens less than seven weeks old or to pregnant or lactating cats. It should also be clear that cats with low thyroid levels, liver disease, bile disease, heart diseases, lung diseases, Addison's disease, very young cats, very old cats or debilitated pets should not use Buprenex.

Thus, only the veterinarian can decide on its use based on the risks and benefits. If your cat is undergoing any treatment, you should let your veterinarian know to avoid possible drug interactions.

Buprenex for cats side effects

The side effects of Buprenex are generally mild. In addition, because it is controlled and administrated by your vet, there are low chances of your cat suffering from them. These include:

  • Mydriasis
  • Euphoria
  • Constant purring
  • Restlessness
  • Constant rubbing against people or things
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed respiration
  • Sedation
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms usually subside spontaneously in about 24 hours, without our intervention. However if you see any unusual behavior, it's best to bring your cat to their veterinarian.

What Is Buprenex For Cats - Buprenex for cats side effects

Drug interactions

Be sure to let your veterinarian know about any medications your cat is taking. These can include vitamins, supplements or even herbal therapies. They will need to know in order to decide what is best for your cat.

There are many drug interactions that may occur with Buprenex. These include:

  • Local anesthetic
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Azole antifungals
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cisapride
  • Central nervous system depressant agents
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Desmopressin
  • Erythromycin
  • Fentanyl
  • Halothane
  • Metoclopramide
  • MAOIs (antidepressants)
  • Naloxone
  • Pancuronium
  • Phenobarbital
  • Rifampin
  • Serotonergic agents
  • Tramadol
  • Seligiline or other monoamine oxidase inhibitor

Buprenorphine is also known to increase blood levels when combined with the following drugs:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Fluconazole (all antifungals)
  • Erythromycin

How to store buprenex for cats

Once you have the medication your veterinarian has prescribed for your cat, it's important to know how to store them. Buprenex (buprenorphine) should be stored at room temperature (68ºF to 77ºF). It should be protected from light, excessive heat and excessive cold. The medication you've acquired should also include storage directions on their label. Make sure to read them and the instructions carefully as Buprenex is a very strong drug.

Overdose or other emergency

In the case where you suspect your cat has overdosed or is having serious side effects, you must contact your local veterinarian or emergency animal facility.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Is Buprenex For Cats, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.


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