Nubain (Nalbuphine HCL)
Nubain is a trade name for the painkiller nalbuphine HCL. Specifically, it is an injectable opiate-based analgesic (narcotic) with mixed agonist/antagonist properties. The analgesic action is roughly the equivalent of morphine on a milligram for milligram basis, although the overall action of the two drugs is quite different. The main distinction stems from the opiate antagonist activity of Nubain. There are three classes of opioid receptors in the human body, labeled mu, delta and kappa. Nubain blocks activation of mu receptors, the primary target of morphine and other related opiates. It is the mu receptor that produces the strong euphoria, analgesia and respiratory depression we see with these drugs. Instead Nubain induces analgesia through interaction with Kappa receptors.
The mixed properties of this drug give it a number of unique qualities. For starters, Nubain has a much lower abuse potential than we see with pure opiates. In fact, individuals dependent on an opiate drug like heroin will generally experience withdrawal symptoms when administering Nubain. This mixed action also makes overdosing on this drug more difficult. While an average dose (10-30 mg) will have a depressive effect on the respiratory system, depression is not appreciably increased with higher doses. The possibility of overdose and dependency cannot be excluded with Nubain however, but does require a considerable level of use. In the United States Nubain is not considered a drug with much abuse potential, as can be seen by its classification as a standard prescription drug (not a controlled substance).
Clinically, Nubain is used (generally) for the treatment of moderately severe pain, as a component of surgical anesthesia, and as an analgesic during labor. It has the welcome characteristic of causing only a minimal decrease in the level of oxygen consumption (a problem associated with most pure opiates). It is particularly effective at lowering the cardiac workload, and is commonly used during treatment of myocardial infarction cases. The dosage given is adjusted according to severity of pain and physical status of the patient, but is generally in the range of 10 – 20 mg for 70 kg of bodyweight. This substance can be administered as an intravenous, subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, depending on the speed of release desired. The action of Nubain is evident within 2 to 3 minutes IV administration, and less than 15 minutes following a “SubQ” or I.M. injection. The half-life of nalbuphine is measured to be approximately 2-3 hours, and it is usually administered to the patient every four to six hours.
Athletes will most often utilize this drug for the treatment of exercise induced pain and soreness, after or during a workout. And since opiate drugs have been shown in some instances to lower cortisol levels and raise the output of growth hormone, the idea of Nubain being used as an anabolic/anti-catabolic is often thrown in as well. For this purpose Nubain is not only useless however, it may also turn out to be counterproductive. This is because suppressed cortisol levels and enhanced output of GH are effects mediated by mu receptors. You will remember Nubain is a mu antagonist, and as such may actually work to increase serum cortisoi and lower growth hormone secretion.
Those who do take this compound will most commonly inject 1 or 1 1/2 ml (equivalent to 10-15 mg) after a workout, in order to relax and unwind (recreational use). Or possibly 1/2 ml (5 mg) before a workout, the analgesic effect sought after to lessen muscle soreness while lifting. The theory is that Nubain will allow you to push through extra sets, or workout at an intense schedule that would otherwise be too uncomfortable. Although a case can be made for the therapeutic use of Nubain, realistically it is just a recreational drug. When administered by an opiate naive individual, it will certainly produce a narcotic high. Its peculiar availability as a black market item is only a result of easy availability in Mexico (and lack of US controls). The volume steroid suppliers simply found another item that may be of interest in the States. Nubain is of course not new, and has been available as a prescription item in the US for quite a long time.