Doctors prescribe Stadol to control moderate to severe pain caused by injury, illness or surgery. The active ingredient in Stadol is butorphanol. Pharmacologists consider this drug to be similar to morphine and more potent than Demerol. Stadol is sometimes used before surgery to prevent pain and decrease awareness before or during surgery.

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Other, off label uses for this medicine

Stadol reduces pain when administered intravenously at the first signs of labor. Small doses are given, usually 1 to 2 mg. Stadol is advantageous for this use because it begins to work within five minutes, is a sedative, has minimal effects on the fetus and causes little nausea.

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Stadol is available in a liquid to be administered intravenously, intramuscularly or in a nasal spray. Stadol is ordered 0.5 to 2 mg IV or 1 to 4 mg IM every four hours as needed for pain. The nasal spray is usually ordered once every four hours as needed for pain, with 1 mg of Stadol administered with each spray.

Stadol is typically prescribed to be taken on an as-needed basis, so you don't need to worry about missing doses. If you take Stadol on a regular schedule to control chronic pain and miss a dose, take the missing dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time to take another dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses in an effort to catch up. Read More About Stadol Administration and Dosage


Butorphanol, the active ingredient in Stadol, is in a class of medications known as opioid agonist-antagonists. Scientists are not quite certain how these drugs work but it is believed they bind to pain receptors in nerve endings in a way that changes the way the brain perceives pain. More About How Stadol Works


Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Stadol or any other medication. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking Stadol. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.

Your doctor may recommend a low dose of Stadol, or using a different pain reliever, if you have had a history of certain medical conditions. Talk with your doctor if you have a history of head injury or any condition that increases the pressure in your brain or skull, problems with your brain or nervous system. Be sure your physician knows if you have ever had a heart attack, breathing problems, high blood pressure or heart, kidney or liver disease.

Stadol may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until you know how your body responds to Stadol. Avoid activities that require you to be alert and awake.

Do not consume alcohol while taking Stadol. Drinking alcohol may worsen side effects.

This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for long periods of time.

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Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Stadol. It is not known if Stadol will harm an unborn child. Stadol can pass intro breast milk; do not take Stadol while breastfeeding.

Stopping Stadol use suddenly may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Whenever possible, wean yourself from Stadol by taking smaller doses further apart. If you cannot comfortably stop using Stadol, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center. More Warnings About Using Stadol

Drug Interactions

Taking Stadol with other medications may cause unfavorable or fatal drug interactions. Make a list of all your prescriptions, over-the-counter and herbal remedies for your doctor and pharmacist. Be sure your list includes antidepressants, antihistamines and barbiturates such as amobarbital. Tell your doctor about any butabarbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, or secobarbital use. Discuss erythromycin use, medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures. It is especially important that you do not take Stadol while any traces of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are present in your system. Using drugs like other nasal sprays, sedatives, sleeping pills, sumatriptan, theophylline and tranquilizers are not recommended alongside Stadol.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects while taking Stadol. Some of these side effects can be severe, even life-threatening. Seek professional medical assistance immediately if you experience serious side effects.

Serious side effects include:

  • Slowed Breathing.
  • Difficulty Breathing.
  • Fainting.
  • Irregular or Pounding Heartbeat,
  • Headache.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Rash.
  • Hives.

Tell your doctor if you have less serious side effects that become acute or don't go away on their own. Less serious side effects include dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain and loss of appetite. Side effects can impact your alertness and you may feel drowsiness, excessive tiredness, have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and unusual dreams. You may experience sweating, flushing, pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet. Tell your doctor if you have uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body. Side effects may also include nervousness, confusion, agitation, hostility, intense happiness, feeling of floating, feeling of sadness, unpleasantness, or discomfort, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, ear pain, unpleasant taste, dry mouth, difficulty urinating and nosebleed. Some side effects feel like the common cold, including a stuffy or irritated nose and sore throat. Learn More About Stadol Side Effects


If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of Stadol, seek emergency assistance immediately. Call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go directly to the nearest emergency room. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Slow or Shallow Breathing.
  • Loss of Consciousness.
  • Coma.
  • Death.

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Stadol is a Schedule II drug, which means it carries a significant risk for abuse and physical as well as psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture Stadol for licit use as a pain reliever but abusers obtain Stadol through forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" as well as theft from pharmacies and friends. Read More About Stadol Abuse


You may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Stadol, especially if you have been using high doses or taking the opioid for a long period of time. Symptoms vary in intensity. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency, not necessarily a sign of willful abuse. Withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from quitting Stadol without medical assistance. Withdrawal symptoms include nervousness, agitation, shakiness, diarrhea, chills, sweats, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, loss of coordination, confusion or hallucinations.


Dependency and addiction to Stadol is often difficult to overcome on your own, especially if you have been taking large doses or using these opioids for a long time. Fortunately, there are in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities where trained professionals can minimize withdrawal symptoms, detoxify your body and give you the tools you need to live drug-free. Detoxification, rehabilitation and counseling are effective therapies to treat addiction to Stadol and other opiates.

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Keep Stadol away from excessive heat and moisture. Do not keep this drug in your bathroom or car. Store Stadol away from children, pets and adults who might accidently or purposefully consume the drug. Do not share Stadol with others, especially with individuals with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Keep track of your medication, taking note of any missing doses.

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