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Buprenorphine patch

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Consult expert advice and local guidance

  • buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. The transdermal preparation releases the patch strength in micrograms per hour of buprenorphine over several days and the manufacturers recommend changing the Transtec ® patch twice weekly. 24 hours should be allowed for full analgesic effect. After removal, plasma concentrations of buprenorphine will be halved after 30 hours
  • approximate relative doses of Transtec® buprenorphine twice weekly patch

Transtec (micrograms per hour)

Approximate *Oral morphine (mg per 24 hours)







  • a further 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). It is not yet clear what place these buprenorphine preparations have in palliative care
    • approximate relative doses of BuTrans® buprenorphine once weekly patch

BuTrans (micrograms per hour)

Approximate Oral Codeine (mg per 24 hours)

Approximate* oral morphine dose (mg in 24hrs)









Transdermal buprenorphine patch preparations: Transtec® Patches releasing 35, 52.5, or 70 micrograms buprenorphine per hour as a twice weekly patch.

* Approximate mid-range oral morphine doses are described here; prescribers should note that manufacturers describe a range of oral morphine doses for each strength of patch

Bu-Trans® patches releasing 5, 10 or 20 micrograms per hour over 7 days.


  • (1) West Midlands Palliative Care Physicians (2012). Palliative care - guidelines for the use of drugs in symptom control.

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