Monday , June 17 2024
Can Humans Take Liquid Buprenorphine For Cats

Can Humans Take Liquid Buprenorphine For Cats? Find Out

Can humans take liquid Buprenorphine for cats? If you are curious about the possibility of humans taking liquid Buprenorphine intended for cats, you are in the right place.

Buprenorphine is a medication commonly used to manage pain in veterinary medicine, specifically for cats. 

However, with its liquid form becoming increasingly common, some wonder if it could be an alternative for human use. 

In a short while, after we have defined what Buprenorphine is, you will understand why some people want to know if the medication is also safe for humans. Spoiler alert…it’s an opioid medication!

So can humans take Buprenorphine for cats?

Yes, humans can take Buprenorphine for cats. The FDA has approved this medication for both cats and humans. 

However, it is not officially approved for use in other animals. Buprenorphine is a pain relief medication that is considered much safer than morphine. Unlike other opioids, Buprenorphine provides pain relief with minimal respiratory depression effects.

What Is Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is a medication primarily used for treating opioid dependence and managing chronic and acute pain. 

Buprenorphine is often prescribed as a substitution therapy for individuals addicted to opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. When it comes to cats, it is used as a short-term painkiller to control pain after surgeries. 

Buprenorphine Is Not For Everyone

It is important to note that this medication may not be suitable for everyone. There are certain groups of people who should exercise caution or avoid using Buprenorphine altogether. They include;

1. People with significant respiratory problems

This includes individuals with severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or any other condition that affects their ability to breathe properly. Buprenorphine can depress the respiratory system, which may worsen the symptoms in these individuals.

2. Elderly

Currently, limited information is available regarding the use of Buprenorphine in elderly individuals. Due to the altered absorption, distribution, and metabolism processes in geriatric patients, it is advisable to proceed with caution when administering Buprenorphine to them. 

3. Breastfeeding mother

While small amounts of the medication may pass into breast milk to the baby, weighing the potential benefits against any potential risks to the infant is essential.  Even the manufacturers of Buprenorphine advise against the use of Buprenorphine in breastfeeding women,

4. Pregnant women

When infants are exposed to opioids while still in the womb, they can experience withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth. 

This condition is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The placenta allows Buprenorphine, and if a pregnant woman uses opioids, it can lead to neonatal withdrawals in her baby soon after delivery. 

These withdrawals can manifest as irritability, apnea, increased muscle tone, tremors, convulsions, or respiratory depression in the newborn. And well, that isn’t fair to your unborn baby.

5. If you are allergic to any in gradient in Buprenex

Individuals who are allergic to any ingredient in Buprenorphine should avoid using this medication. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin rashes to severe anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. 

It is important to disclose any known allergies to healthcare providers before starting Buprenorphine treatment. Alternative treatment options can also be explored to address opioid dependence or chronic pain management safely.

How Long Does Buprenorphine Stay In Your System?

The duration of action of Buprenex typically varies from 6 to 12 hours, depending on how it is administered. After the last dose of Buprenex, the drug can still be detected in the body for five to 10 days. 

The liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing Buprenex, breaking it down into substances that can be eliminated from the body. 

The drug is then excreted through urine and feces, with approximately 10 to 30 percent of the dose being excreted through urine and the majority being eliminated through feces. 

If you have a properly functioning liver, it takes between 132 hours and 231 hours for Buprenorphine to be completely eliminated from your body.

The onset of effects is relatively quick when administered via injection, starting around 15 minutes after the injection. The peak plasma effects are achieved within 2-3 minutes after the injection. 

The peak pharmacological effects occur approximately one hour after the injection is administered, and the duration of effects for the Buprenex injection lasts approximately 6-8 hours.

On the other hand, when Buprenex is administered sublingually, the onset of effects is slightly delayed compared to the injection route. It typically begins 30-60 minutes after the administration. 

The peak effects are typically seen 1-4 hours after administering the medication, and if the dosages are high, the effects can last up to 24-72 hours.

The transdermal patch is designed for one-time use and can be worn continuously for seven days. 

Once applied, the medication’s therapeutic level is typically attained within 12 to 24 hours. When the patch is removed, the concentration of Buprenex gradually decreases by approximately 50 percent over a period of roughly 10 to 24 hours.

How Is Buprenorphine Used To Reduce Opioid Dependence?

Buprenorphine is a medication that has gained significant attention in addiction treatment. It belongs to the class of drugs known as opioid agonist-antagonists and is commonly used to manage opioid addiction.

 It works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid dependence. 

Unlike other opioids, it has a ceiling effect, meaning that higher doses do not result in increased effects or overdose risk. 

This makes Buprenorphine a safer alternative for individuals seeking recovery from opioid addiction

Additionally, it has a longer duration of action, allowing for less frequent dosing compared to other medications in its class.

Buprenorphine/Naloxone Formulations Available In The U.S.

In the United States, various formulations of buprenorphine/naloxone combinations are available to aid in treating opioid dependence. 

These formulations offer different options for administration and dosage forms, providing individuals with diverse choices based on their preferences and needs.

Cassipa (discontinued)

  • Dosage Form: Sublingual Film
  • Administration: Once daily
  • Use: Opioid dependence
  • Approved: 2018

Bunavail (discontinued)

  • Dosage Form: Buccal film
  • Administration: Once daily
  • Use: Opioid dependence
  • Approved: 2014

Suboxone (discontinued)

  • Dosage Form: Sublingual tablets
  • Administration: Once daily
  • Use: Opioid dependence
  • Approved: 2002


  • Dosage Form: Sublingual tablets
  • Administration: Once daily
  • Use: Opioid dependence
  • Approved: 2013


  • Dosage Form: Sublingual Film
  • Administration: Once daily
  • Use: Opioid dependence
  • Approved: 2010

What Does a Buprenorphine Overdose Look Like?

Despite Buprenorphine’s relatively safer profile in comparison to other opioids, there remain a significant number of individuals who are addicted to this drug. 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has provided information indicating that Buprenorphine is more frequently discovered during drug busts than methadone. 

Moreover, since its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Buprenorphine has witnessed a substantial increase in popularity. 

In 2010 alone, the DEA recorded 10,537 reports of Buprenorphine being found in drug busts, as opposed to a mere 90 reports in 2003.

If you have developed a tolerance to opioids may find it challenging to overdose on Buprenorphine. 

However, for those with a history of opioid abuse do overdose on this medication, the symptoms become extremely difficult to reverse. Like other opioid overdoses, one of the most common symptoms is respiratory depression. 

This occurs when you experience shallow and short breaths, leading to increased carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream.

In severe cases of buprenorphine overdose, individuals may experience a coma. This is a state of unconsciousness where the person is unresponsive and cannot be awakened.

Other symptoms include sedation, fainting, cold and clammy skin, extreme weakness, and hypotension. 

Treating Buprenorphine Overdose

Finding an effective treatment for buprenorphine overdose symptoms can be challenging due to the absence of a direct antidote. 

Although a high dose of naloxone hydrochloride may alleviate some overdose symptoms, it is not a definitive solution.

To counteract respiratory depression, doxapram, a respiratory stimulant, has been used as a potential treatment for buprenorphine overdose. 

Interestingly, opioid overdoses of other kinds are managed using Buprenorphine or a combination of Buprenorphine and naloxone known as Suboxone. 

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

The duration of opioid withdrawal varies depending on the specific opioid being taken and whether it is classified as short-acting or long-acting. 

Short-acting opioids are known for their quick onset of action but provide relief for a shorter duration. In contrast, long-acting opioids take longer to take effect but offer longer-lasting relief. 

If you have been using short-acting opioids, the acute withdrawal phase typically lasts 4 to 10 days, with withdrawal symptoms emerging within 8 to 24 hours after the last use. 

Conversely, those who have been taking long-acting opioids can expect the acute withdrawal phase to last for a period of 10 to 20 days, with withdrawal symptoms also starting during this time.


Can humans take liquid Buprenorphine for cats? Yes, there is no problem if you use Buprenorphine for cats. However, there’s a catch.

While Buprenorphine is a powerful opioid medication commonly used to manage pain in humans and animals, the formulation and dosage may vary between animals and humans.

As usual, make sure to consult with a healthcare professional or veterinarian before considering the use of any medication, ensuring the safety and efficacy of the treatment plan.

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