Buprenorphine (Butrans) is an expensive drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug is slightly less popular than comparable drugs. There are currently no generic alternatives to Butrans. It is covered by some Medicare and insurance plans, but some pharmacy coupons or cash prices may be lower. Compare opioid Agonist/Antagonists.

Butrans Side Effects

What should I watch for?

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.

If you are also taking a narcotic medicine for pain or cough or another medicine that also causes drowsiness, 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 or unusual sleepiness.

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.

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.


Interactions with Medications

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet

rapid weight gain

swelling, burn, or blisters at the patch site

tingling of the hands or feet

unusual weight loss

Less common

Bladder pain

bloody or cloudy urine

blurred vision

body aches or pain

burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings

chest pain


cough producing mucus


difficult or labored breathing

difficult, burning, or painful urination

difficulty with moving


ear congestion


frequent urge to urinate

general feeling of discomfort or illness


increased sweating

joint pain

loss of appetite

loss of voice

lower back or side pain

muscle aches and pains

muscle stiffness

nasal congestion




pain in the arms or legs

pounding in the ears

runny nose

shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet


slow or fast heartbeat


sore throat


tightness in the chest

trembling or shaking of the hands or feet

trouble sleeping

unusual tiredness or weakness



Abdominal or stomach pain or tenderness

arm, back, or jaw pain

blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin

blue lips, fingernails, or skin

chest tightness or heaviness


decreased urination

deep or fast breathing with dizziness

difficulty with swallowing

dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position

dry mouth

extremely shallow or slow breathing


fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse

feeling of warmth or heat

flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck

increase in heart rate

irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing

itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin

large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs

lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting

loss of bladder control

loss of consciousness

numbness of the feet, hands, and around the mouth

rapid breathing

slow or irregular heartbeat

sunken eyes


swelling or puffiness of the face


trouble with walking

wrinkled skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

Change in consciousness

cold and clammy skin

convulsions (seizures)

drowsiness that is so severe you are not able to answer when spoken to or, if asleep, cannot be awakened

pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin

pinpoint (small) pupils in the eyes

sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

slow heartbeat

unable to speak

very slow or troubled breathing

weak muscle tone

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common


itching, redness, or rash at the patch site

Less common

Acid or sour stomach


back pain



headache, severe and throbbing



irritation at the patch site

itching skin

lack or loss of strength

muscle spasms

neck pain

pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones


stomach discomfort, upset, or pain

swelling of the joints

upper abdominal or stomach pain

weight loss



being forgetful

blurred or loss of vision

change in taste

changes in patterns and rhythms of speech

clumsiness or unsteadiness

confusion about identity, place, and time


decreased interest in sexual intercourse

decreased weight

disturbed color perception

double vision

dry eyes or skin

excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines

feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings

feeling of unreality

full feeling

general feeling of discomfort or illness

halos around lights

heavy bleeding

inability to have or keep an erection

lack of feeling or emotion

loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance

loss of taste

muscle weakness

night blindness


overbright appearance of lights

passing gas

pressure in the stomach

relaxed and calm


sensation of spinning

sense of detachment from self or body


slurred speech

swelling of the abdominal or stomach area

trouble with speaking

tunnel vision


Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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