Buprenorphine (Belbuca) may be habit forming, especially with prolonged use. Apply buprenorphine exactly as directed. Do not apply more buprenorphine buccal films, use the buccal films more often, or use the buccal films in a different way than prescribed by your doctor. While using buprenorphine, discuss with your health care provider your pain treatment goals, length of treatment, and other ways to manage your pain. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family drinks or has ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, uses or has ever used street drugs, or has overused prescription medications, or if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness. There is a greater risk that you will overuse buprenorphine if you have or have ever had any of these conditions. Talk to your health care provider immediately and ask for guidance if you think that you have an opioid addiction or call the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) may cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first 24 to 72 hours and any time that your dose is increased. Your doctor will monitor you carefully during your treatment. Your doctor will adjust your dose carefully to control your pain and decrease the risk that you will experience serious breathing problems. Tell your doctor if you have breathing difficulties and if you have or have ever had asthma. Your doctor may tell you not to use buprenorphine (Belbuca.) Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways), other lung diseases, a head injury, a brain tumor, or any condition that increases the amount of pressure in your brain. The risk that you will develop breathing problems may also be higher if you are an older adult or are weakened or malnourished due to disease. If you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, extreme drowsiness, fainting, or loss of consciousness.
Taking certain medications with buprenorphine (Belbuca) may increase the risk of serious or life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or plan to take any of the following medications: benzodiazepines such as such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Diastat, Valium), estazolam, flurazepam, lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam, temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion); medications for mental illness and nausea; other medications for pain; muscle relaxants; sedatives; sleeping pills; or tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the dosages of your medications and will monitor you carefully. If you use buprenorphine with any of these medications and develop any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical care: unusual dizziness, lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness. Be sure that your caregiver or family members know which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor or emergency medical care if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Drinking alcohol, taking prescription or nonprescription medications that contain alcohol, or using street drugs during your treatment with buprenorphine increases the risk that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects. Do not drink alcohol or use street drugs during your treatment.
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) may cause serious harm or death if used accidentally by a child or by an adult who has not been prescribed the medication. Do not allow anyone else to use your medication. Store buprenorphine (Belbuca) in a safe place so that no one else can use it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how many buccal films are left so you will know if any are missing.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you use buprenorphine regularly during your pregnancy, your baby may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms after birth. Tell your baby's doctor right away if your baby experiences any of the following symptoms: irritability, hyperactivity, abnormal sleep, high-pitched cry, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, vomiting, diarrhea, or failure to gain weight.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with buprenorphine (Belbuca) and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of using buprenorphine (Belbuca).
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) is used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications. Buprenorphine (Belbuca) should not be used to treat pain that can be controlled by medication that is taken as needed. Buprenorphine (Belbuca) in a class of medications called opiate partial agonists. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) comes as a buccal film to apply inside the cheek. It is usually applied twice a day. Apply buprenorphine (Belbuca) at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use buprenorphine (Belbuca) exactly as directed.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of buprenorphine (Belbuca), either once daily or every 12 hours, and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 4 days. Your doctor may decrease your dose if you experience side effects. Tell your doctor if you feel that your pain is not controlled or if you experience side effects during your treatment with buprenorphine (Belbuca). Do not change the dose of your medication without talking to your doctor.
Do not stop using buprenorphine (Belbuca) without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop using buprenorphine (Belbuca), you may have symptoms of withdrawal. Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms of withdrawal: restlessness, teary eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, muscle and back aches, large pupils (black circles in the center of the eyes), irritability, anxiety, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, stomach cramps, pain in the joints, weakness, fast heartbeat, or rapid breathing.
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) is sealed in a foil package. Do not open the package until ready to use. Do not apply buprenorphine (Belbuca) if the package seal is broken or the buccal film is cut, damaged, or changed in any way.
To apply the buccal film, follow these steps:
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using buprenorphine (Belbuca),
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Buprenorphine (Belbuca) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Dispose of any medication as soon as it becomes outdated or is no longer needed. Immediately dispose of any medication that is outdated or no longer needed through a medicine take-back program. If you do not have a take-back program nearby or one that you can access promptly, then remove any unused films from their foil packages and flush them down the toilet. Throw away the foil packaging in the trash. Do not flush buprenorphine (Belbuca) down the toilet in the foil packages or cartons.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
While you are using buprenorphine (Belbuca), you may be told to always have a rescue medication called naloxone available (e.g., home, office). Naloxone is used to reverse the life-threatening effects of an overdose. It works by blocking the effects of opiates to relieve dangerous symptoms caused by high levels of opiates in the blood. You will probably be unable to treat yourself if you experience an opiate overdose. You should make sure that your family members, caregivers, or the people who spend time with you know how to tell if you are experiencing an overdose, how to use naloxone, and what to do until emergency medical help arrives. Your doctor or pharmacist will show you and your family members how to use the medication. Ask your pharmacist for the instructions or visit the manufacturer's website to get the instructions. If someone sees that you are experiencing symptoms of an overdose, he or she should give you your first dose of naloxone, call 911 immediately, and stay with you and watch you closely until emergency medical help arrives. Your symptoms may return within a few minutes after you receive naloxone. If your symptoms return, the person should give you another dose of naloxone. Additional doses may be given every 2 to 3 minutes, if symptoms return before medical help arrives.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to buprenorphine.
Before having any laboratory test (especially those that involve methylene blue), tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using buprenorphine.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Buprenorphine (Belbuca) is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: October 15, 2019.