Buprenorphine

This form:

Pronounced

"BUE-pre-NOR-feen"

Common brand names:

Butrans

Uses

This medication is used to help relieve severe ongoing pain (such as due to arthritis, chronic back pain). Buprenorphine belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

The higher strengths of this drug (7.5, 10, 15, or 20 micrograms per hour patches) should be used only if you have been regularly taking moderate amounts of opioid pain medication. These strengths may cause overdose (even death) if used by a person who has not been regularly taking opioids.

Do not use this medication to relieve pain that is mild or that will go away in a few days. This medication is not for occasional ("as needed") use.

How to Use This Medication

See also Warning section.

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Learn how to properly use, store, and discard the patches. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Use this medication on a regular schedule as directed by your doctor, not as needed for sudden (breakthrough) pain. If you are already using an opioid medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should stop or change how you use your other opioid medication. It may take 24 hours or longer before you have pain relief from buprenorphine patches. Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using buprenorphine safely with other drugs.

Apply this medication to the skin as directed by your doctor. Do not apply on burns, cuts, irritated skin, or skin that has been exposed to radiation (x-ray treatment). Select a dry, non-hairy area on a flat part of your body, such as the upper chest, sides of the chest, upper back, or upper outer arms. In people unable to think clearly (such as due to dementia), apply the patch on the upper back to lessen the chance it might be removed or placed in the mouth. If there is hair on the skin, use scissors to clip the hair as close as possible to the skin. Do not shave hair since this might cause skin irritation. If needed, use water to clean the area. Do not use soap, oils, lotions, or alcohol on the application site. Dry the skin well before applying the patch.

The patch is usually changed every 7 days. To avoid irritation, apply to a different area each time and do not apply to the same site within 3 weeks. Be sure to remove the old patch before applying a new patch. The used patch should be folded in half with the sticky sides together and properly discarded. If your manufacturer has supplied a patch disposal unit, follow directions for its use.

Do not use the patch if it appears to be broken, cut, or damaged. Remove from the sealed pouch, peel off the protective liner, and apply right away to the skin. Press firmly in place with the palm of the hand for about 15 to 30 seconds, making sure the contact is complete (especially around the edges). If your prescribed dose is for more than one patch, apply them right next to each other but make sure the edges of the patches do not touch or overlap. After applying the patch, wash your hands with water only.

You may bathe, shower, or swim while wearing the patch. If you have problems with the patch not sticking at the application site, you may tape the edges in place with certain kinds of first aid tape. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which type of tape should be used. If this problem persists, ask your doctor for advice. If the patch falls off before 7 days, a new patch may be applied to a different skin site. Be sure to let your doctor know if this happens.

If you accidentally touch the sticky layer to your skin or handle a cut or damaged patch, wash the area well with clear water. If the patch comes off and accidentally sticks to the skin of another person, immediately remove the patch, wash the area with water, and get medical help for them right away. Do not use soap, alcohol, or other products to wash the area.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not apply more patches than directed, change them more frequently, or use them for a longer time than prescribed. Your risk for side effects will increase.

Suddenly stopping this medication may cause withdrawal, especially if you have used it for a long time or in high doses. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, mental/mood changes (including anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide), watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle aches, or sudden changes in behavior.

When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Use this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Tell your doctor if your pain does not get better or if it gets worse.

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Drug information is selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First DataBank, Inc. This is a summary and does not contain all possible information about this product. For complete information about this product or your specific health needs, ask your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you have any questions about this product or your medical condition. This information is not intended as individual medical advice and does not substitute for the knowledge and judgment of your healthcare professional. This information does not contain any assurances that this product is safe, effective or appropriate for you.

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Information expires December 2020.