Bupivacaine is used as a local or regional anesthetic for various procedures. Its safety and effectiveness depend on proper dosage, correct administration, and readiness for emergencies.
Bupivacaine is a prescription medication used to prevent pain and induce spinal anesthesia.
Bupivacaine belongs to a group of drugs called local anesthetics. These work by numbing one small area of the body (local) or blocking pain in an area of the body (regional).
This medication is available in an injectable form to be administered by injection via local infiltration, peripheral nerve block, or caudal and lumbar blocks by a healthcare professional.
Common side effects of bupivacaine include nausea, constipation, vomiting, and chills.
Bupivacaine can also cause blurred vision, drowsiness, and dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how bupivacaine affects you.
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Uses of Bupivacaine
Bupivacaine is a prescription medication used to prevent pain before surgical procedures and induce spinal anesthesia.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Bupivacaine Brand Names
Bupivacaine Drug Class
Bupivacaine is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Bupivacaine
Serious side effects have been reported with bupivacaine. See the “Bupivacaine Precautions” section.
Common side effects of bupivacaine include the following:
- low blood pressure
- blurred vision
- ringing in the ears
This is not a complete list of bupivacaine side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Deprenyl, Eldepryl, Emsam), isocarboxazid (Marplan), isoniazid (Laniazid), phenelzine (Nardil)
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline (Pamelor), amitriptyline, and imipramine (Tofranil)
This is not a complete list of bupivacaine drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Serious side effects have been reported with bupivacaine including the following:
- Allergic-type reactions. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of allergic-type reactions.
- Itching, hives, and redness
- Swelling of the throat or face
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
- Excessive sweating
- Elevated temperature or fever
- Neurologic reactions. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of neurologic reactions.
- Decreased heart rate
- Urinary retention
- Fecal and urinary incontinence
- Persistent anesthesia
- Tingling in the extremities
- Paralysis of the lower extremities
- Septic meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord)
Bupivacaine can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how bupivacaine affects you.
Do not take bupivacaine if you:
- are allergic to bupivacaine or to any of its ingredients
Bupivacaine injection should not be used in obstetrical paracervical block (local anesthetic injection around cervix) anesthesia.
Bupivacaine Food Interactions
Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of bupivacaine, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.
Before taking bupivacaine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to bupivacaine or to any of its ingredients
- have or have had liver problems
- have or have had heart problems
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Bupivacaine and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Bupivacaine falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.
Bupivacaine and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Bupivacaine has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from bupivacaine, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.
This medication is available in an injectable form to be administered by injection via local infiltration, peripheral nerve block, or caudal and lumbar blocks by a healthcare professional. The dose, frequency, and route of administration will vary, depending on the indication for use.
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:
- the condition being treated
- other medical conditions you have
- other medications you are taking
- how you respond to this medication
- your weight
- your height
- your age
- your gender
The dose, frequency, and route of administration will vary, depending on the indication for use.
If bupivacaine is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
- Local anesthetics, including bupivacaine, should only be administered by clinicians who are experienced in the diagnosis and management of dose-related toxicity and acute emergencies that might arise from the agent being used.
- Emergency resuscitative equipment and personnel should be available when local anesthetics are administered.
Bupivacaine FDA Warning
THE 0.75% CONCENTRATION OF BUPIVACAINE HYDROCHLORIDE IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR OBSTETRICAL ANESTHESIA. THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF CARDIAC ARREST WITH DIFFICULT RESUSCITATION OR DEATH DURING USE OF BUPIVACAINE HYDROCHLORIDE FOR EPIDURAL ANESTHESIA IN OBSTETRICAL PATIENTS. IN MOST CASES, THIS HAS FOLLOWED USE OF THE 0.75% CONCENTRATION. RESUSCITATION HAS BEEN DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE DESPITE APPARENTLY ADEQUATE PREPARATION AND APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT. CARDIAC ARREST HAS OCCURRED AFTER CONVULSIONS RESULTING FROM SYSTEMIC TOXICITY, PRESUMABLY FOLLOWING UNINTENTIONAL INTRAVASCULAR INJECTION. THE 0.75% CONCENTRATION SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR SURGICAL PROCEDURES WHERE A HIGH DEGREE OF MUSCLE RELAXATION AND PROLONGED EFFECT ARE NECESSARY.