Buprenorphine Patch

Ask A Pharmacist

Self medication is not recommended. Always discuss medication changes with your physician and pharmacist.

Name: Buprenorphine transdermal patch, (boo pre NOR feen), BuTrans®


BuTrans® is officially approved in Canada for management of persistent moderate pain in adults who need continuous opioid analgesia for an extended period of time.

How it works:

Buprenorphine is an opioid analgesic. BuTrans®  is a patch that delivers buprenorphine continuously over a 7 day period.


Discuss with your doctor whether this drug may be an option for you. It should be used with caution in patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Other disease states are important to consider. Discuss with your doctor and pharmacist other medications ( prescription and non-prescription) and natural herbal products you take since they may increase or decrease the effects of this drug. It is recommended not to drink alcohol. Do  not drive until you know how it affects you (wait at least 1 week after a dose change to assess this).

Keep in a secure place away from children. Wash your hands well after handling the patch.


BuTrans®  patch delivers the opioid slowly over 7 days. Because it is long-acting it will take a few days when starting or changing the dose to give the full effects (at least 3 days for full effects, and when decreasing a dose it takes a few days to be out of your body). A short-acting analgesic may be recommended by your doctor to supplement during this time. Do not cut the patch. Do not apply creams or lotions at the patch site within 6 hours of  application.

Apply the patch on clean, dry, hairless intact skin on your upper outer arm, upper back, or upper / side of chest. Every 7 days remove the old patch and apply a new patch in a new area to decrease irritation. Wait at least 3 weeks before using this site again.

A fever can increase the effects of the patch. Avoid exposing the patch to heat sources (sunlight, heating pads). Showering, bathing and swimming should not affect the patch.

Inform your doctor that you are on. BuTrans®   if you are having surgery. If stopping BuTrans®  discuss this with your physician. When stopping the general rule is to wait 24 hours before giving another opioid to allow the effects to be eliminated from the body.

Side Effects:

All medications that have positive effects (usefulness) also have negative effects (side effects). The most common side effects are nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, headache, and skin irritation at the application site.


BuTrans® is a convenient dosage form for patients requiring an opioid for persistent, non-fluctuating pain. It may be an option for patients who have not been on an opioid before or an alternative for some patients currently on an opioid. The slow constant release of drug into the body may be easier to tolerate.

Always discuss medication with your physician and pharmacist to see if this medication is appropriate for you.

Janice Sumpton RPh, BScPhm.                               Oct. 23, 2011