What is this medication for?
Buprenorphine belongs to the class of medications called opioid analgesics (pain relievers). Buprenorphine sustained release is only intended to treat persistent moderate-to-severe chronic (long-term) pain, where pain relief is needed around the clock. For acute pain or "breakthrough" pain, the doctor will prescribe another pain medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or a narcotic-containing medication.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than
those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for
all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are being
given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this
medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same
symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if
their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Butrans® is available as:
- transdermal system (patches)
- 5 µg per hour
- 10 µg per hour
- 20 µg per hour
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The usual dose of buprenorphine patch varies according to need. The most common starting dose of buprenorphine sustained-release patch is 5 µg per hour and may be increased to 20 µg per hour. Each patch should be worn for 7 days.
The patch may be applied to the upper outer arm, upper chest, upper back, or the side of the chest. Change the skin site where you apply the patch each week, making sure that at least 3 weeks (21 days) pass before you reuse the same skin site. Apply this medication to a hairless or nearly hairless skin site. If none are available, the hair at the site should be clipped, not shaven. Do not apply the patch to irritated skin. If the application site must be cleaned, clean the site with water only and avoid using soaps, alcohol, oils, lotions, or abrasive devices. Allow the skin to dry before applying the patch.
Do not apply the patch to broken skin or to areas where there may be irritation (rashes, swelling, redness, or other skin problems). When handling the patch, do not touch the sticky side of the patch with your fingers and instead, use the protective liner as a handle. Press the entire patch firmly into place with the palm of your hand over the patch for about 15 seconds - do not rub the patch. Wash your hands thoroughly after the application. Dispose of used patches by folding the adhesive side of the patch to itself, then flushing the patch down the toilet immediately upon removal. To dispose of unused patches, remove the patches from their pouches, remove the protective liners, fold the patches so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and immediately flush the patch down the toilet.
If the patch falls off, do not reapply the patch. Discard the medication safely and apply a new patch to a different site. If the edges of the patch start to loosen, apply first aid tape or special see-through adhesive dressings only to the edges of the patch.
This medication may be habit-forming if taken for long periods of time. You may experience withdrawal effects if you stop using this medication suddenly after extended use. If you plan on stopping the medication, your doctor may want you to reduce the dose gradually to reduce the severity of withdrawal effects.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without talking to your doctor first, and do not increase the dose of this medication without consulting your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. Do not use two patches (double dose) to make up for a missed application. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children. Store each patch in its individual sealed pouch. Do not use a patch if the pouch is open or the patch is damaged in any way. Do not refrigerate.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you:
- are allergic to buprenorphine or to any of the ingredients of the medication, including the adhesive used on the patch
- are treating temporary or postsurgical pain
- have bronchial asthma
- have mild pain
- have or may have paralytic ileus
- have significant respiratory depression
- have taken MAO inhibitors within 14 days
- need pain relief only on an as-needed basis