The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Transdermal Buprenorphine (Butrans) for Chronic Pain
Subscribers: Log in to read full article.  Not a subscriber?  Subscribe or purchase article.

The FDA has approved the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine in a transdermal formulation (Butrans – Purdue) for treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain. Buprenorphine has been available in the US for years in parenteral formulations for pain and in sublingual tablets for opioid dependence.1 Transdermal buprenorphine has been available in Europe for several years.2

MECHANISM OF ACTION — Buprenorphine binds with high affinity to, and slowly dissociates from, the mu opioid receptor. It produces typical opioid agonist effects, but in high doses it can act as an antagonist. Used alone, it may be less likely than full opioid agonists such as fentanyl (Duragesic, and others) to cause dependence or respiratory depression, but if respiratory depression does occur, it may not be effectively reversed by naloxone (Narcan, ... more      

The Medical Letter is a subscriber-funded nonprofit organization that publishes critical appraisals of new prescription drugs and comparative reviews of drugs for common diseases.

Would you like to read the rest of this article?  Gain access below.

Subscriptions to The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics include:
  • Print version published and mailed biweekly (26 issues/year)
  • Unlimited online access to current and past issues (1988 - present)
  • Mobile App for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire
  • FREE online per issue CME/CE
Purchase this article:
Title: Transdermal Buprenorphine (Butrans) for Chronic Pain
Article code: 1362d
 Electronic, downloadable article - $45
Gain access through your organization
Ask your librarian to consider an Institutional Subscription to The Medical Letter.
Recommend to your librarian