Transdermal Buprenorphine

  • Certain side effects are common to all opioids. These are readily managed by appropriate dosing and concomitant use of other agents such as laxatives and anti-emetics.
  • True allergic reactions are rare.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist.
The transdermal preparation releases the patch strength in micrograms per hour of buprenorphine over several days.

A transdermal buprenorphine patch formulation containing a lower dose of buprenorphine is available (BuTrans®, releasing between 5 and 20 micrograms per hour of buprenorphine over 7 days). These buprenorphine patches may be of some benefit in patients who have difficulties in taking oral medication and have low analgesic requirements.

The manufacturers recommend changing the Transtec® patch twice weekly. It takes at least 24 hours for full analgesic effect. After removal, plasma concentrations of buprenorphine will be halved after 30 hours.

Transdermal opioid preparations must be prescribed by brand name.

Transdermal buprenorphine patch preparations:

  • BuTrans® patches releasing ‘5’, ‘10’ or ‘20’ micrograms of buprenorphine per hour over 7 days.
  • Hapoctasin® patches releasing ‘35’, ‘52.5’, or ‘70’ micrograms buprenorphine per hour over 3 days.
  • Transtec® patches releasing ‘35’, ‘52.5’, or ‘70’ micrograms buprenorphine per hour over 4 days.

For approximate equivalent doses see table

Use the links below for further information about Transdermal Opioids:


This Guide is intended for use by healthcare professionals and the expectation is that they will use clinical judgement, medical, and nursing knowledge in applying the general principles and recommendations contained within. They are not meant to replace the many available texts on the subject of palliative care.

Some of the management strategies describe the use of drugs outside their licensed indications. They are, however, established and accepted good practice. Please refer to the current BNF for further guidance.

While WMPCPS takes every care to compile accurate information , we cannot guarantee its correctness and completeness and it is subject to change. We do not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or expense resulting from the use of this information.