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Stadol: Uses, Side Effects, and Treatment

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

January 12, 2024 (Originally Published)

January 12, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

Stadol is a branded version of butorphanol tartrate, a narcotic pain-relieving medication. Although butorphanol is still available in generic form (Stadol generic name butorphanol), Stadol has been discontinued in the United States as a brand name.

The effects of Stadol are similar to those of morphine. Like morphine, Stadol is also used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Stadol is also sometimes used during early labor if childbirth is expected within four hours. The medication can also be used as a component of anesthesia for surgery.

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What Is Stadol?

Butorphanol is no longer produced in the form of Stadol, but laboratories like Novex and Mylan manufacture generic versions of this semi-synthetic opioid.

Classified as a partial agonist, Stadol also acts as an opioid antagonist. The medication has a mechanism of action that impacts the CNS (central nervous system) just like other opioid-based painkillers.

Butorphanol is available in the following forms:

  • Tartrate salt
  • Nasal spray
  • Tablet
  • Injectable

Due to its low level of bioavailability in humans, the tablet form is limited to medical applications.

Commonly prescribed for the management of migraines, the intranasal form of butorphanol can be highly effective. This spray is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance. There are many reports of Stadol abuse. The medication should be prescribed with caution due to its abuse and addiction potential.

The Stadol medication is more effective at reducing pain in women than in men.

What Is The Drug Stadol Used For?

Stadol is most commonly indicated for the management of migraines. For this application, the intranasal spray is proven effective.

Additionally, this narcotic can be used to supplement general anesthesia, for the management of pain during labor, and for the management of moderate or severe pain.

Stadol Side Effects

Stadol side effects can range from mild to severe, requiring medical intervention in some cases. If you’re struggling with stadol side effects, talk to your doctor about your experience.

These are the common side effects of Stadol:

  • Aches and pains in body
  • Bloody nose, runny nose, or stuffy nose
  • Itching or tingling
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Flushing
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of voice
  • Tightness in chest
  • Excessive sweating

These are the less common side effects of Stadol:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite loss
  • Agitation
  • Darkening skin
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Blue skin or lips
  • Vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Nausea
  • Impaired coordination
  • Depression

You should seek immediate medical assistance in the event of Stadol overdose and the presentation of the following symptoms:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Choking
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Swelling
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Pale skin
  • No muscle movement
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Severe sleepiness
a woman looking out on a field at sunset representing stadol side effects

Stadol Addiction Potential

There is a black box warning on butorphanol concerning its potential for triggering dependence and addiction. Boxed warnings are required by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) on all medications that carry significant health risks.

Stadol is structurally similar to other opioids like morphine and oxycodone. The medication is not structurally dissimilar to heroin.

While Stadol drug class is an opioid antagonist, it also has opioid agonist properties. As such, the medication can bring about the same effects as other opioids that are commonly abused.

According to the boxed warning, physicians should not prescribe this narcotic without first assessing the risk of misuse and addiction for the patient.

Most people who become addicted to an opioid like Stadol do not initially intend to abuse the medication. Tolerance to opioids forms quickly, though, diminishing the pain-relieving properties. This often initiates an abusive cycle of consuming more Stadol to achieve the same effects. If the cycle is not broken, physical dependence will form.

When you become dependent on an opioid like Stadol, its absence will cause intensely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms to manifest.

That said, the risk of abuse and addiction is lower with this narcotic than with other medications in the opioid analgesic class.

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Get Treatment for Stadol Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

While addiction to opioids can be aggravating and destructive, almost all cases of opioid use disorder can be treated with a combination of MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and psychotherapy. If you’re struggling with Stadol pain medicine addiction, we can help you with this and more at Renaissance Recovery.

Most people addicted to opioids like Stadol benefit from supervised detoxification in a clinical setting. We can connect you with licensed medical detox centers throughout Southern California. Access medications to streamline the intensity of opioid withdrawal and benefit from continuous clinical and emotional care while detoxing from Stadol.

Once you have detoxed from opioids, engage with one of the following Renaissance Recovery treatment programs:

Research indicates that most mild and moderate addictions respond just as well to outpatient treatment as residential rehab. With outpatient therapy at Renaissance, you can choose the intensity level you need and take advantage of more affordable and flexible addiction treatment than inpatient rehab.

All treatment programs provide the following services and interventions:

When you complete your treatment program at Renaissance Recovery Center in Orange County, you will be equipped with relapse prevention strategies and a comprehensive aftercare plan. We’re here to help you from opioid detox into ongoing sobriety. Call admissions today at 866.330.9449 for immediate assistance and access to a supervised clinical Stadol detox.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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