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Clinical particulars
Target species
Dogs, cats and horses
Indications for use, specifying the target species
Post-operative analgesia in the dog, cat and horse.
Potentiation of the sedative effects of centrally-acting agents in the dog and horse.
When used in horses, an intravenous sedative should be administered within five minutes prior to injection of buprenorphine.
Do not administer by the intrathecal or peridural route.
Do not use pre-operatively for Caesarian section (see Use during pregnancy, lactation or lay).
Not to be used in horses intended for human consumption. Treated horses may never be slaughtered for human consumption. The horse must have been declared as not intended for human consumption under national horse passport legislation.
Special warnings for each target species
Special precautions for use
Special precautions for use in animals
Buprenorphine may cause respiratory depression and as with other opioid drugs, care should be taken when treating animals with impaired respiratory function or animals that are receiving drugs that can cause respiratory depression.
In case of renal, cardiac or hepatic dysfunction or shock, there may be greater risk associated with the use of the product. The benefit: risk assessment for using the product should be made by the attending vet. Safety has not been fully evaluated in clinically compromised cats.
Buprenorphine should be used with caution in animals with impaired liver function, especially biliary tract disease, as the substance is metabolised by the liver and its intensity and duration of action may be affected in such animals.
The safety of buprenorphine has not been demonstrated in animals less than 7 weeks of age, therefore, use in such animals should be based on the risk: benefit assessment of the veterinarian.
Repeat administration earlier than the recommended repeat interval suggested in Amounts to be administered and administration route is not recommended.
Long-term safety of buprenorphine has not been investigated beyond 5 consecutive days of administration in cats or 4 separate administrations on three consecutive days in horses.
The effect of an opioid on head injury is dependent on the type and severity of the injury and the respiratory support supplied. The product should be used in accordance with the benefit:risk assessment of the attending veterinarian.
Safety has not been evaluated in clinically-compromised horses. In horses, use of opioids has been associated with excitation, but effects with buprenorphine are minimal when administered in conjunction with sedatives and tranquilisers such as detomidine, romifidine, xylazine and acepromazine. The safety of buprenorphine has not been demonstrated in horses younger than 10 months old and weighing less than 150 kg; therefore, use in such animals should be based on the risk: benefit assessment of the veterinarian.
Ataxia is a known effect of detomidine and similar agents; consequently it may be seen after administration of buprenorphine with such substances. Occasionally, ataxia may be marked. To ensure ataxic horses sedated with detomidine/buprenorphine do not lose their balance, they should not be moved or otherwise handled in any way that would compromise their stability.
Special precautions to be taken by the person administering the veterinary medicinal product to animals
Wash hands/affected area thoroughly after any accidental spillage.
As buprenorphine has opioid-like activity, care should be taken to avoid self-injection. In case of accidental self-injection or ingestion, seek medical advice immediately and show the package leaflet or the label to the physician.
Following eye contamination or skin contact, wash thoroughly with cold running water. Seek medical advice if irritation persists.
Adverse reactions (frequency and seriousness)
Salivation, bradycardia, hypothermia, agitation, dehydration and miosis can occur in the dog, and rarely hypertension and tachycardia.
Mydriasis and signs of euphoria (excessive purring, pacing, rubbing) commonly occur in cats and will usually resolve within 24 hours.
Buprenorphine may cause respiratory depression. (refer to Special precautions for use in animals)
When used to provide analgesia in horses, sedation is rarely seen, but may occur at dose levels higher than those recommended. When used in conjunction with sedatives or tranquillisers, excitation is normally minimal, but ataxia may occasionally be marked. Colic is rarely reported.
Use during pregnancy, lactation or lay
Laboratory studies in rats have not produced any evidence of a teratogenic effect. However, these studies have shown post-implantation losses and early foetal deaths. These may have resulted from a reduction in parental body condition during gestation and in post-natal care owing to sedation of the mothers.
As reproductive toxicity studies have not been conducted in the target species, use only according to the benefit/risk assessment by the responsible veterinarian.
The product should not be used pre-operatively in cases of Caesarean section, due to the risk of respiratory depression in the offspring periparturiently, and should only be used post-operatively with special care (see below).
Studies in lactating rats have shown that, after intramuscular administration of buprenorphine, concentrations of unchanged buprenorphine in the milk equalled or exceeded that in the plasma. As it is likely that buprenorphine will be excreted in the milk of other species, use is not recommended during lactation. Use only according to benefit: risk assessment by the responsible veterinarian.
Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
Buprenorphine may cause some drowsiness, which may be potentiated by other centrally acting agents, including tranquillisers, sedatives and hypnotics.
There is evidence in humans to indicate that therapeutic doses of buprenorphine do not reduce the analgesic efficacy of standard doses of an opioid agonist, and that when buprenorphine is employed within the normal therapeutic range, standard doses of opioid agonist may be administered before the effects of the former have ended without compromising analgesia. However, it is recommended that buprenorphine is not used in conjunction with morphine or other opioid-type analgesics, e.g. etorphine, fentanyl, pethidine, methadone, papaveretum or butorphanol.
Buprenorphine has been used with acepromazine, alphaxalone/alphadalone, atropine, detomidine, dexmedetomidine, halothane, isoflurane, ketamine, medetomidine, propofol, romifidine, sevoflurane, thiopentone and xylazine. When used in combination with sedatives, depressive effects on heart rate and respiration may be augmented.
Amounts to be administered and administration route
Dog – intramuscular or intravenous injection
Cat – intramuscular or intravenous injection
Horse - intravenous injection
See table.
Dosage & Administration: Vetergesic Multidose 0.3 mg/ml Solution for Injection for Dogs, Cats and Horses
Route of administration
Post-operative analgesia
Potentiation of Sedation
Intramuscular or intravenous injection
10-20 micrograms per kg (0.3-0.6 ml per 10 kg). For further pain relief, repeat if necessary after 3-4 hours with 10 microgram per kg or 5-6 hours with 20 microgram per kg.
10-20 micrograms per kg (0.3-0.6 ml per 10 kg).
Intramuscular or intravenous injection
10 – 20 microgram per kg (0.3 – 0.6 ml per 10 kg), repeated if necessary, once, after 1 - 2 hours.
Intravenous injection
10 microgram per kg (3.3 mL per 100 kg), 5 minutes after administration of an iv sedative. The dose may be repeated (with sedation) if necessary, once, after not less than 1 - 2 hours
5 micrograms per kg (1.7 mL per 100 kg) 5 minutes after administration of an iv sedative. The dose may be repeated if necessary after 10 minutes
An appropriately graduated syringe must be used to allow accurate dosing.
In dogs, sedative effects are present by 15 minutes after administration.
Analgesic activity may not develop fully until 30 minutes. To ensure that analgesia is present during surgery and immediately on recovery, the product should be administered preoperatively as part of premedication.
When administered for potentiation of sedation or as part of premedication, the dose of other centrally-acting agents, such as acepromazine or medetomidine, should be reduced. The reduction will depend on the degree of sedation required, the individual animal, the type of other agents included in premedication and how anaesthesia is to be induced and maintained. It may also be possible to reduce the amount of inhalational anaesthetic used.
Animals administered opioids possessing sedative and analgesic properties may show variable responses. Therefore, the response of individual animals should be monitored and subsequent doses should be adjusted accordingly. In some cases, repeat doses may fail to provide additional analgesia. In these cases, consideration should be given to using a suitable injectable NSAID.
Overdose (symptoms, emergency procedures, antidotes), if necessary
In cases of overdosage, supportive measures should be instituted, and, if appropriate, naloxone or respiratory stimulants may be used.
When administered at overdose to dogs, buprenorphine may cause lethargy. At very high doses, bradycardia and miosis may be observed.
Studies in horses where buprenorphine has been administered with sedatives have shown very few effects at up to five times the recommended dosage, but when administered on its own it may cause excitement in pain-free-animals.
Naloxone may be of benefit in reversing reduced respiratory rate and respiratory stimulants such as Doxapram are also effective in man. Because of the prolonged duration of effect of buprenorphine in comparison to such drugs, they may need to be administered repeatedly or by continuous infusion. Volunteer studies in man have indicated that opiate antagonists may not fully reverse the effects of buprenorphine.
In toxicological studies of buprenorphine hydrochloride in dogs, biliary hyperplasia was observed after oral administration for one year at dose levels of 3.5 mg/kg/day and above. Biliary hyperplasia was not observed following daily intramuscular injection of dose levels up to 2.5 mg/kg/day for 3 months. This is well in excess of any clinical dose regimen in the dog.
Please also refer to Special precautions for use and Adverse reactions.
Withdrawal periods
Not authorised for use in horses intended for human consumption.