Highlights for buprenorphine
buprenorphine Side Effects
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- anxiety, irritability, nervousness or restlessness
- breathing problems
- cold, clammy skin or sweating
- feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
- stomach pain or vomiting
- swelling of ankles
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- unusually weak or tired
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report these to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- difficulty sleeping
- dry mouth
- itching, redness, or rash at the patch site
buprenorphine May Interact with Other Medications
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- antibiotics like erythromycin and clarithromycin
- antihistamines for allergy, cough and cold
- barbiturates like phenobarbital
- certain medicines for irregular heart beat
- general anesthetics
- MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
- medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
- medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
- medicines for sleep
- medicines used to treat HIV infection or AIDS like ritonavir, saquinavir, and indinavir
- muscle relaxants
- narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain
- phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
- rifampin or rifampicin
How to Use buprenorphine
Apply the patch to your skin. Do not cut or damage the patch. A cut or damaged patch can be very dangerous because you may get too much medicine. Select a clean, dry area of skin on your upper outer arm, upper chest, upper back, or the side of the chest. Do not apply the patch to broken, burned, cut, or irritated skin. Use only water to clean the area. Do not use soap or alcohol to clean the skin because this can increase the effects of the medicine. If the area is hairy, clip the hair with scissors, but do not shave.
Take the patch out of its wrapper. Bend the patch along the faint line and slowly peel the outer portion of the liner, which covers the sticky surface of the patch. Press the patch onto the skin and slowly peel off the protective liner. Do not use a patch if the packaging or backing is damaged. Do not touch the sticky part with your fingers. Press the patch to the skin using the palm of your hand. Press the patch to the skin for 15 seconds. Wash your hands at once.
Keep patches far away from children. Do not let children see you apply the patch and do not apply it where children can see it. Do not call the patch a sticker, tattoo, or bandage, as this could encourage the child to mimic your actions. Used patches still contain medicine. Children or pets can have serious side effects or die from putting used patches in their mouth or on their bodies.
Take off the old patch before putting on a new patch. Apply each new patch to a different area of skin. If a patch comes off or causes irritation, remove it and apply a new patch to a different site. If the edges of the patch start to loosen, first apply first aid tape to the edges of the patch. If problems with the patch not sticking continue, cover the patch with a see-through adhesive dressing (like Bioclusive or Tegaderm). Never cover the patch with any other bandage or tape. To get rid of used patches, fold the patch in half with the sticky sides together. Then, flush it down the toilet. Alternately, you may dispose of the patch in the Patch-Disposal Unit provided. Never throw the patch away in the trash without sealing it in the Patch-Disposal unit. Replace the patch every 7 days. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not use more medicine than you are told to use.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
If a patch accidentally touches the skin, use only water to clean the area. Do not use soap or alcohol to clean the skin because this can increase the effects of the medicine. If someone accidentally uses a buprenorphine patch and is not awake and alert, immediately call 911 for help. If the person is awake and alert, call a doctor, health care professional, or the Poison Control Center.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- brain tumor
- drink more than 3 alcohol-containing drinks per day
- drug abuse or addiction
- fast, irregular heartbeat
- general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
- head injury
- liver disease
- lung disease such as asthma or COPD
- taken isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, or selegiline in the past 2 weeks
- thyroid disease
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- an unusual or allergic reaction to buprenorphine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
If you forget to replace your patch, take off the old patch and put on a new patch as soon as you can. Do not apply an extra patch to your skin. Do not wear more than one patch at the same time unless told to do so by your doctor or health care professional.
Other pain medicine may be needed when you first start using the patch because the patch can take some time to start working. Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not go away, if it gets worse, or if you have new or a different type of pain. You may develop tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance means that you will need a higher dose of the medicine for pain relief. Tolerance is normal and is expected if you take the medicine for a long time.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your body becomes used to the medicine. This does NOT mean you are addicted. Addiction is a behavior related to getting and using a drug for a non-medical reason. If you have pain, you have a medical reason to take pain medicine. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
There are different types of narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain. If you take more than one type at the same time, you may have more side effects. Give your health care provider a list of all medicines you use. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. Do not take more medicine than directed. Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing.
The medicine will cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your doctor or health care professional.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe.
Heat can increase the amount of medicine released from the patch. Do not get the patch hot by using heating pads, heated water beds, electric blankets, and heat lamps. You can bathe or swim while using the patch. But, do not use a sauna or hot tub. Tell you doctor or health care professional if you get a fever.
Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and against the law.
Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Do not store the patches out of their wrappers.
This medicine may cause accidental overdose and death if it is taken by other adults, children, or pets. Flush any unused medicine down the toilet as instructed above to reduce the chance of harm. Alternately, you may dispose of the patch in the Patch-Disposal Unit provided. Do not use the medicine after the expiration date.
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Last Updated: August 4, 2014