Stadol is the brand name of the synthetic opioid butorphanol tartrate. Generic preparations of the drug are also available. It is used to alleviate moderate to severe pain, and it is administered either through an injection or a nasal spray. The injectable form has a quicker onset and its effects last about three or four hours. In contrast, the nasal spray takes a bit longer to produce an effect, but lasts four or five hours.
Stadol is most often used to relieve pain from migraine headaches, the labor of childbirth, and surgery. It is also used before surgery to enhance the effect of anesthetics.
Migraine sufferers can experience an easing of pain within 15 minutes, and the relief lasts up to six hours. During labor, Stadol has the advantage of lessening pain without affecting the duration of the labor or its progress. After surgery, it provides quick, effective pain relief.
For reasons that are not yet clear, Stadol seems to have a stronger effect in women than in men. Its use has not been adequately studied in people under the age of 18, so it is generally not given to that age group. It is also not recommended for the elderly. They seem particularly susceptible to drowsiness and dizziness when taking the drug, which makes them more likely to injure themselves in a fall.
Stadol is also used as a sedative in the field of veterinary medicine, and many people who abuse the drug recreationally obtain it through this avenue. The nasal spray is much more likely than the injectable form to be abused by recreational users.
The side effects of Stadol typically include dizziness, headaches, and tremors. Users can also experience vision impairment, lethargy, and confusion, dry mouth, and insomnia. Gastrointestinal upsets such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation are also common.
The most severe side effects include allergic reactions, seizures, fainting, rapid heartbeat, and a dangerously high blood pressure. The appearance of any of these side effects requires emergency medical care. All of the side effects of Stadol are made worse by alcohol.
Tolerance and Dependence
Patients can develop both tolerance and a dependence on Stadol. Since it is often administered in a hospital setting for limited use, many patients do not have the opportunity to develop a tolerance. If the medicine is prescribed for home use by, for example, migraine sufferers, tolerance is more likely to develop.
Physical and psychological dependence are likely to occur with persistent use of Stadol over a period of weeks. This is possible with normal therapeutic doses as well as with deliberate abuse of the drug. If an overdose occurs, the person will exhibit slow or stopped breathing, a weak heartbeat, coma, and eventually death.
The sudden stoppage of use of Stadol results in characteristic withdrawal symptoms. The most common physical symptoms include weakness and diarrhea. Withdrawal also produces psychological effects such as anxiety, changes in mood, and agitation. The most worrisome symptoms include hallucinations and a general feeling of deep unease.