Drug: Butrans

BUTRANS is a transdermal system providing systemic delivery of buprenorphine, a mu opioid partial agonist analgesic, continuously for 7 days. The chemical name of buprenorphine is 6,14- ethenomorphinan-7-methanol, 17-(cyclopropylmethyl)- α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4, 5-epoxy-18, 19-dihydro-3-hydroxy-6-methoxy-α-methyl-, [5α, 7α, (S)]. The structural formula is: The molecular weight of buprenorphine is 467.6; the empirical formula is C29H41NO4. Buprenorphine occurs as a white or almost white powder and is very slightly soluble in water, freely soluble in acetone, soluble in methanol and ether, and slightly soluble in cyclohexane. The pKa is 8.5 and the melting point is about 217°C. System Components and Structure Five different strengths of BUTRANS are available: 5, 7.5, 10, 15, and 20 mcg/hour (Table 5). The proportion of buprenorphine mixed in the adhesive matrix is the same in each of the five strengths. The amount of buprenorphine released from each system per hour is proportional to the active surface area of the system. The skin is the limiting barrier to diffusion from the system into the bloodstream. Table 5: BUTRANS Product Specifications
Buprenorphine Delivery Rate (mcg/hour) Active Surface Area (cm²) Total Buprenorphine Content (mg) BUTRANS 5 6.25 5 BUTRANS 7.5 9.375 7.5 BUTRANS 10 12.5 10 BUTRANS 15 18.75 15 BUTRANS 20 25 20 BUTRANS is a rectangular or square, beige-colored system consisting of a protective liner and functional layers. Proceeding from the outer surface toward the surface adhering to the skin, the layers are (1) a beige-colored web backing layer; (2) an adhesive rim without buprenorphine; (3) a separating layer over the buprenorphine-containing adhesive matrix; (4) the buprenorphinecontaining adhesive matrix; and (5) a peel-off release liner. Before use, the release liner covering the adhesive layer is removed and discarded. Figure 1: Cross-Section Diagram of BUTRANS (not to scale)
The active ingredient in BUTRANS is buprenorphine. The inactive ingredients in each system are: levulinic acid, oleyl oleate, povidone, and polyacrylate cross-linked with aluminum.

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The following serious adverse reactions are described elsewhere in the labeling:
  • Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • QTc Prolongation [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hypotensive Effects [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Interactions with Other CNS Depressants [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Application Site Skin Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Anaphylactic/Allergic Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Gastrointestinal Effects [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Seizures [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Clinical Trial Experience Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice. A total of 5,415 patients were treated with BUTRANS in controlled and open-label chronic pain clinical trials. Nine hundred twenty-four subjects were treated for approximately six months and 183 subjects were treated for approximately one year. The clinical trial population consisted of patients with persistent moderate to severe pain. The most common serious adverse drug reactions (all < 0.1%) occurring during clinical trials with BUTRANS were: chest pain, abdominal pain, vomiting, dehydration, and hypertension/blood pressure increased. The most common adverse events ( ≥ 2%) leading to discontinuation were: nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headache, and somnolence. The most common adverse reactions ( ≥ 5%) reported by patients in clinical trials comparing BUTRANS 10 or 20 mcg/hour to placebo are shown in Table 2, and comparing BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour to BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour are shown in Table 3 below: Table 2: Adverse Reactions Reported in ≥ 5% of Patients during the Open-Label Titration Period and Double-Blind Treatment Period: Opioid-Na├»ve Patients
MedDRA Preferred Term Open-Label Titration Period Double-Blind Treatment Period BUTRANS
(N = 1024) BUTRANS
(N = 256) Placebo
(N=283) Nausea 23% 13% 10% Dizziness 10% 4% 1% Headache 9% 5% 5% Application site pruritus 8% 4% 7% Somnolence 8% 2% 2% Vomiting 7% 4% 1% Constipation 6% 4% 1% Table 3: Adverse Reactions Reported in ≥ 5% of Patients during the Open-Label Titration Period and Double-Blind Treatment Period: Opioid-Experienced Patients
MedDRA Preferred Term Open-Label Titration Period Double-Blind Treatment Period BUTRANS
(N = 1160) BUTRANS 20
(N = 219) BUTRANS 5
(N = 221) Nausea 14% 11% 6% Application site pruritus 9% 13% 5% Headache 9% 8% 3% Somnolence 6% 4% 2% Dizziness 5% 4% 2% Constipation 4% 6% 3% Application site erythema 3% 10% 5% Application site rash 3% 8% 6% Application site irritation 2% 6% 2% The following table lists adverse reactions that were reported in at least 2.0% of patients in four placebo/active-controlled titration-to-effect trials. Table 4: Adverse Reactions Reported in Titration-to-Effect Placebo/Active-Controlled Clinical Trials with Incidence ≥ 2%
MedDRA Preferred Term BUTRANS
(N = 392) Placebo
(N = 261) Nausea 21% 6% Application site pruritus 15% 12% Dizziness 15% 7% Headache 14% 9% Somnolence 13% 4% Constipation 13% 5% Vomiting 9% 1% Application site erythema 7% 2% Application site rash 6% 6% Dry mouth 6% 2% Fatigue 5% 1% Hyperhidrosis 4% 1% Peripheral edema 3% 1% Pruritus 3% 0% Stomach discomfort 2% 0% The adverse reactions seen in controlled and open-label studies are presented below in the following manner: most common ( ≥ 5%), common ( ≥ 1% to < 5%), and less common ( < 1%). The most common adverse reactions ( ≥ 5%) reported by patients treated with BUTRANS in the clinical trials were nausea, headache, application site pruritus, dizziness, constipation, somnolence, vomiting, application site erythema, dry mouth, and application site rash. The common ( ≥ 1% to < 5%) adverse reactions reported by patients treated with BUTRANS in the clinical trials organized by MedDRA (Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities) System Organ Class were: Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, dyspepsia, and upper abdominal pain General disorders and administration site conditions: fatigue, peripheral edema, application site irritation, pain, pyrexia, chest pain, and asthenia Infections and infestations: urinary tract infection, upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, influenza, sinusitis, and bronchitis Injury, poisoning and procedural complications: fall Metabolism and nutrition disorders: anorexia Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: back pain, arthralgia, pain in extremity, muscle spasms, musculoskeletal pain, joint swelling, neck pain, and myalgia Nervous system disorders: hypoesthesia, tremor, migraine, and paresthesia Psychiatric disorders: insomnia, anxiety, and depression Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: dyspnea, pharyngolaryngeal pain, and cough Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: pruritus, hyperhidrosis, rash, and generalized pruritus Vascular disorders: hypertension Other less common adverse reactions, including those known to occur with opioid treatment, that were seen in < 1% of the patients in the BUTRANS trials include the following in alphabetical order: Abdominal distention, abdominal pain, accidental injury, affect lability, agitation, alanine aminotransferase increased, angina pectoris, angioedema, apathy, application site dermatitis, asthma aggravated, bradycardia, chills, confusional state, contact dermatitis, coordination abnormal, dehydration, depersonalization, depressed level of consciousness, depressed mood, disorientation, disturbance in attention, diverticulitis, drug hypersensitivity, drug withdrawal syndrome, dry eye, dry skin, dysarthria, dysgeusia, dysphagia, euphoric mood, face edema, flatulence, flushing, gait disturbance, hallucination, hiccups, hot flush, hyperventilation, hypotension, hypoventilation, ileus, insomnia, libido decreased, loss of consciousness, malaise, memory impairment, mental impairment, mental status changes, miosis, muscle weakness, nervousness, nightmare, orthostatic hypotension, palpitations, psychotic disorder, respiration abnormal, respiratory depression, respiratory distress, respiratory failure, restlessness, rhinitis, sedation, sexual dysfunction, syncope, tachycardia, tinnitus, urinary hesitation, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, urticaria, vasodilatation, vertigo, vision blurred, visual disturbance, weight decreased, and wheezing. Read the Butrans (buprenorphine transdermal system) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effectsLearn More »

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Initial Dosing BUTRANS should be prescribed only by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable in the use of potent opioids for the management of chronic pain. BUTRANS doses of 7.5, 10, 15, and 20 mcg/hour are for opioid-experienced patients only. Initiate the dosing regimen for each patient individually; taking into account the patient's prior analgesic treatment experience and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24-72 hours of initiating therapy with BUTRANS [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. BUTRANS is for transdermal use (on intact skin) only. Each BUTRANS patch is intended to be worn for 7 days. Instruct patients not to use BUTRANS if the pouch seal is broken or the patch is cut, damaged, or changed in any way and not to cut BUTRANS. Use of BUTRANS as the First Opioid Analgesic Initiate treatment with BUTRANS with a 5 mcg/hour patch. Conversion from Other Opioids to BUTRANS Discontinue all other around-the-clock opioid drugs when BUTRANS therapy is initiated. There is a potential for buprenorphine to precipitate withdrawal in patients who are already on opioids. Prior Total Daily Dose of Opioid Less than 30 mg of Oral Morphine Equivalents per Day: Initiate treatment with BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour at the next dosing interval (see Table 1 below, middle column). Prior Total Daily Dose of Opioid Between 30 mg to 80 mg of Oral Morphine Equivalents per Day: Taper the patient's current around-the-clock opioids for up to 7 days to no more than 30 mg of morphine or equivalent per day before beginning treatment with BUTRANS. Then initiate treatment with BUTRANS 10 mcg/hour at the next dosing interval (see Table 1 below, right column). Patients may use short-acting analgesics as needed until analgesic efficacy with BUTRANS is attained. Prior Total Daily Dose of Opioid Greater than 80 mg of Oral Morphine Equivalents per Day: BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour may not provide adequate analgesia for patients requiring greater than 80 mg/day oral morphine equivalents. Consider the use of an alternate analgesic. Table 1: Initial BUTRANS Dose
Previous Opioid Analgesic Daily Dose (Oral Morphine Equivalent) < 30 mg 30-80 mg Recommended BUTRANS Starting Dose 5 mcg/hour 10 mcg/hour Conversion from Methadone to BUTRANS Close monitoring is of particular importance when converting from methadone to other opioid agonists. The ratio between methadone and other opioid agonists may vary widely as a function of previous dose exposure. Methadone has a long half-life and can accumulate in the plasma. Titration And Maintenance Of Therapy Individually titrate BUTRANS to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes adverse reactions. Continually reevaluate patients receiving BUTRANS to assess the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of adverse reactions, and monitor for the development of addiction, abuse, or misuse. Frequent communication is important among the prescriber, other members of healthcare team, the patient, and the caregiver/family during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including initial titration. During chronic therapy, periodically reassess the continued need for opioid analgesics. The minimum BUTRANS titration interval is 72 hours, based on the pharmacokinetic profile and time to reach steady state levels [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. The maximum BUTRANS dose is 20 mcg/hour. Do not exceed a dose of one 20 mcg/hour BUTRANS system due to the risk of QTc interval prolongation. In a clinical trial, BUTRANS 40 mcg/hour (given as two BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour systems) resulted in prolongation of the QTc interval [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. If the level of pain increases, attempt to identify the source of increased pain, while adjusting the BUTRANS dose to decrease the level of pain. Because steady-state plasma concentrations are achieved within 72 hours, BUTRANS dosage may be adjusted every 3 days. Dose adjustments may be made in 5 mcg/hour, 7.5 mcg/hr, or 10 mcg/hour increments by using no more than two patches of the 5 mcg/hour, or 7.5 mcg/hr, or 10 mcg/hour system(s). The total dose from both patches should not exceed 20 mcg/hour. For the use of two patches, patients should be instructed to remove their current patch, and apply the two new patches at the same time, adjacent to one another at a different application site [see Administration]. Patients who experience breakthrough pain may require dosage adjustment increase of BUTRANS, or may need rescue medication with an appropriate dose of an immediate-release analgesic. If the level of pain increases after dose stabilization, attempt to identify the source of increased pain before increasing the BUTRANS dose. If unacceptable opioid-related adverse reactions are observed, the subsequent doses may be reduced. Adjust the dose to obtain an appropriate balance between the management of pain and opioid-related adverse reactions. Cessation Of Therapy When the patient no longer requires therapy with BUTRANS, use a gradual downward titration of the dose every 7 days to prevent signs and symptoms of withdrawal in the physically dependent patient; consider introduction of an appropriate immediate-release opioid medication. Do not abruptly discontinue BUTRANS. Patients With Hepatic Impairment BUTRANS has not been evaluated in patients with severe hepatic impairment. As BUTRANS is only intended for 7-day application, consider use of an alternate analgesic that may permit more flexibility with the dosing in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Use In Specific Populations, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Administration Of BUTRANS Instruct patients to apply immediately after removal from the individually sealed pouch. Instruct patients not to use BUTRANS if the pouch seal is broken or the patch is cut, damaged, or changed in any way. See the Instructions for Use for step-by-step instructions for applying BUTRANS. Apply BUTRANS to the upper outer arm, upper chest, upper back or the side of the chest. These 4 sites (each present on both sides of the body) provide 8 possible application sites. Rotate BUTRANS among the 8 described skin sites. After BUTRANS removal, wait a minimum of 21 days before reapplying to the same skin site [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Apply BUTRANS to a hairless or nearly hairless skin site. If none are available, the hair at the site should be clipped, not shaven. Do not apply BUTRANS to irritated skin. If the application site must be cleaned, clean the site with water only. Do not use soaps, alcohol, oils, lotions, or abrasive devices. Allow the skin to dry before applying BUTRANS. Incidental exposure of the BUTRANS patch to water, such as while bathing or showering is acceptable based on experience during clinical studies. If problems with adhesion of BUTRANS occur, the edges may be taped with first aid tape. If problems with lack of adhesion continue, the patch may be covered with waterproof or semipermeable adhesive dressings suitable for 7 days of wear. If BUTRANS falls off during the 7-day dosing interval, dispose of the transdermal system properly and place a new BUTRANS patch on at a different skin site. When changing the system, instruct patients to remove BUTRANS and dispose of it properly [see Disposal Instructions]. If the buprenorphine-containing adhesive matrix accidentally contacts the skin, instruct patients or caregivers to wash the area with water and not to use soap, alcohol, or other solvents to remove the adhesive because they may enhance the absorption of the drug. Disposal Instructions Patients should refer to the Instructions for Use for proper disposal of BUTRANS. Dispose of used and unused patches by following the instructions on the Patch-Disposal Unit that is packaged with the BUTRANS patches. Alternatively, patients can dispose of used patches by folding the adhesive side of the patch to itself, then flushing the patch down the toilet immediately upon removal. Unused patches should be removed from their pouches, the protective liners removed, the patches folded so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and immediately flushed down the toilet. Patients should dispose of any patches remaining from a prescription as soon as they are no longer needed.

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Benzodiazepines There have been a number of reports regarding coma and death associated with the misuse and abuse of the combination of buprenorphine and benzodiazepines. In many, but not all of these cases, buprenorphine was misused by self-injection of crushed buprenorphine tablets. Preclinical studies have shown that the combination of benzodiazepines and buprenorphine altered the usual ceiling effect on buprenorphine-induced respiratory depression, making the respiratory effects of buprenorphine appear similar to those of full opioid agonists. Closely monitor patients with concurrent use of BUTRANS and benzodiazepines. Warn patients that it is extremely dangerous to self-administer benzodiazepines while taking BUTRANS, and warn patients to use benzodiazepines concurrently with BUTRANS only as directed by their physician. CNS Depressants The concomitant use of BUTRANS with other CNS depressants including sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers, general anesthetics, phenothiazines, other opioids, and alcohol can increase the risk of respiratory depression, profound sedation, coma and death. Monitor patients receiving CNS depressants and BUTRANS for signs of respiratory depression, sedation, and hypotension. When combined therapy with any of the above medications is considered, the dose of one or both agents should be reduced [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Drugs Affecting Cytochrome P450 Isoenzymes Inhibitors of CYP3A4 and 2D6 Because the CYP3A4 isoenzyme plays a major role in the metabolism of buprenorphine, drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 activity may cause decreased clearance of buprenorphine which could lead to an increase in buprenorphine plasma concentrations and result in increased or prolonged opioid effects. These effects could be more pronounced with concomitant use of CYP2D6 and 3A4 inhibitors. If co-administration with BUTRANS is necessary, monitor patients for respiratory depression and sedation at frequent intervals and consider dose adjustments until stable drug effects are achieved [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Inducers of CYP3A4 CYP450 3A4 inducers may induce the metabolism of buprenorphine and, therefore, may cause increased clearance of the drug which could lead to a decrease in buprenorphine plasma concentrations, lack of efficacy or, possibly, development of an abstinence syndrome in a patient who had developed physical dependence to buprenorphine. After stopping the treatment of a CYP3A4 inducer, as the effects of the inducer decline, the buprenorphine plasma concentration will increase which could increase or prolong both the therapeutic and adverse effects, and may cause serious respiratory depression. If coadministration or discontinuation of a CYP3A4 inducer with BUTRANS is necessary, monitor for signs of opioid withdrawal and consider dose adjustments until stable drug effects are achieved [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Muscle Relaxants Buprenorphine may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression. Monitor patients receiving muscle relaxants and BUTRANS for signs of respiratory depression that may be greater than otherwise expected. Anticholinergics Anticholinergics or other drugs with anticholinergic activity when used concurrently with opioid analgesics may result in increased risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus. Monitor patients for signs of urinary retention or reduced gastric motility when BUTRANS is used concurrently with anticholinergic drugs. Drug Abuse And Dependence Controlled Substance BUTRANS contains buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance with an abuse potential similar to other Schedule III opioids. BUTRANS can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction and criminal diversion [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Abuse All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use. Drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of an over-the-counter or prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects. Drug abuse includes, but is not limited to the following examples: the use of a prescription or over-the-counter drug to get “high”, or the use of steroids for performance enhancement and muscle build up. Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and includes: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal. “Drug-seeking” behavior is very common to addicts and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated claims of loss of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers) to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control. Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Physicians should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction. BUTRANS, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests, as required by state law, is strongly advised. Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to reduce abuse of opioid drugs. Risks Specific to the Abuse of BUTRANS BUTRANS is intended for transdermal use only. Abuse of BUTRANS poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of BUTRANS with alcohol and other substances including other opioids and benzodiazepines [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Intentional compromise of the transdermal delivery system will result in the uncontrolled delivery of buprenorphine and pose a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Abuse may occur by applying the transdermal system in the absence of legitimate purpose, or by swallowing, snorting, or injecting buprenorphine extracted from the transdermal system. Dependence Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects. Physical dependence results in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dose reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity, e.g., naloxone, nalmefene, or mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage. BUTRANS should not be abruptly discontinued [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. If BUTRANS is abruptly discontinued in a physically-dependent patient, an abstinence syndrome may occur. Some or all of the following can characterize this syndrome: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate. Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms [see Use In Specific Populations]. Last reviewed on RxList: 7/17/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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BUTRANS is indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limitations of Use
  • Because of the risks of addiction, abuse and misuse with opioids, even at recommended doses, and because of the greater risk of overdose and death with extended-release opioid formulations, reserve BUTRANS for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options (e.g., non-opioid analgesics or immediate-release opioids) are ineffective, not tolerated, or would be otherwise inadequate to provide sufficient management of pain.
  • BUTRANS is not indicated as an as-needed (prn) analgesic

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BUTRANS is contraindicated in patients with:
  • Significant respiratory depression
  • Acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment
  • Known or suspected paralytic ileus
  • Hypersensitivity (e.g., anaphylaxis) to buprenorphine [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS]
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/17/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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Clinical Presentation Acute overdosage with BUTRANS is manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, bradycardia, hypotension, partial or complete airway obstruction, atypical snoring and death. Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen due to severe hypoxia in overdose situations. Treatment of Overdose In case of overdose, priorities are the re-establishment of a patent and protected airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation if needed. Employ other supportive measures (including oxygen, vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias will require advanced life support techniques. Naloxone may not be effective in reversing any respiratory depression produced by buprenorphine. High doses of naloxone, 10-35 mg/70 kg, may be of limited value in the management of buprenorphine overdose. The onset of naloxone effect may be delayed by 30 minutes or more. Doxapram hydrochloride (a respiratory stimulant) has also been used. Remove BUTRANS immediately. Because the duration of reversal would be expected to be less than the duration of action of buprenorphine from BUTRANS, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably re-established. Even in the face of improvement, continued medical monitoring is required because of the possibility of extended effects as buprenorphine continues to be absorbed from the skin. After removal of BUTRANS, the mean buprenorphine concentrations decrease approximately 50% in 12 hours (range 10-24 hours) with an apparent terminal half-life of approximately 26 hours. Due to this long apparent terminal half-life, patients may require monitoring and treatment for at least 24 hours. In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of an opioid receptor antagonist may precipitate an acute withdrawal. The severity of the withdrawal produced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. If a decision is made to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient with an opioid antagonist, administration of the antagonist should be begun with care and by titration with smaller than usual doses of the antagonist.

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Dosage Forms And Strengths BUTRANS is a rectangular or square, beige-colored system consisting of a protective liner and functional layers. BUTRANS is available in five strengths:
  • BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour Transdermal System (dimensions: 45 mm by 45 mm)
  • BUTRANS 7.5 mcg/hour Transdermal System (dimensions: 58 mm by 45 mm)
  • BUTRANS 10 mcg/hour Transdermal System (dimensions: 45 mm by 68 mm)
  • BUTRANS 15 mcg/hour Transdermal System (dimensions: 59 mm by 72 mm)
  • BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour Transdermal System (dimensions: 72 mm by 72 mm)
Storage And Handling BUTRANS (buprenorphine) Transdermal System is supplied in cartons containing 4 individually-packaged systems and a pouch containing 4 Patch-Disposal Units. BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour Transdermal System, 4-count carton NDC 59011-750-04 BUTRANS 7.5 mcg/hour Transdermal System, 4-count carton NDC 59011-757-04 BUTRANS 10 mcg/hour Transdermal System, 4-count carton NDC 59011-751-04 BUTRANS 15 mcg/hour Transdermal System, 4-count carton NDC 59011-758-04 BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour Transdermal System, 4-count carton NDC 59011-752-04 Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted between 15°C - 30°C (59°F - 86°F). Distributed by: Purdue Pharma L.P., Stamford, CT 06901-3431. Manufactured by: LTS Lohmann Therapy Systems Corp., West Caldwell, NJ 07006. Revised: June 2014 Last reviewed on RxList: 7/17/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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Addiction, Abuse, And Misuse BUTRANS contains buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance. As an opioid, BUTRANS exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse. As modified-release products such as BUTRANS deliver the opioid over an extended period of time, there is a greater risk for overdose and death, due to the larger amount of buprenorphine present. Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed BUTRANS and in those who obtain the drug illicitly. Addiction can occur at recommended doses and if the drug is misused or abused [see Drug Abuse and Dependence]. Assess each patient's risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing BUTRANS, and monitor all patients receiving BUTRANS for the development of these behaviors or conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol abuse or addiction) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed modified-release opioid formulations such as BUTRANS, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of BUTRANS, along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, or misuse. Abuse or misuse of BUTRANS by placing it in the mouth, chewing it, swallowing it, or using it in ways other than indicated may cause choking, overdose and death [see OVERDOSAGE]. Opioid agonists such as BUTRANS are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing BUTRANS. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug [see PATIENT INFORMATION]. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product. Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of modifiedrelease opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression, from opioid use, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient's clinical status [see OVERDOSAGE]. Carbon dioxide (CO2) retention from opioidinduced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids. While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of BUTRANS, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dose increase. Closely monitor patients for respiratory depression when initiating therapy with BUTRANS and following dose increases. To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of BUTRANS are essential [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Overestimating the BUTRANS dose when converting patients from another opioid product can result in fatal overdose with the first dose. Accidental exposure to BUTRANS, especially in children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of buprenorphine. Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome Prolonged use of BUTRANS during pregnancy can result in withdrawal signs in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea and failure to gain weight. The onset, duration, and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome vary based on the specific opioid used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of elimination of the drug by the newborn. Interactions With Central Nervous System Depressants Hypotension, profound sedation, coma, respiratory depression, and death may result if BUTRANS is used concomitantly with alcohol or other (CNS) depressants (e.g., sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, neuroleptics, other opioids). When considering the use of BUTRANS in a patient taking a CNS depressant, assess the duration of use of the CNS depressant and the patient's response, including the degree of tolerance that has developed to CNS depression. Additionally, evaluate the patient's use, of alcohol or illicit drugs that cause CNS depression. If the decision to begin BUTRANS therapy is made, start with BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour patch, monitor patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression and consider using a lower dose of the concomitant CNS depressant [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Use In Elderly, Cachectic, And Debilitated Patients Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients as they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients. Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating BUTRANS and when BUTRANS is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression]. Use In Patients With Chronic Pulmonary Disease Monitor patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or preexisting respiratory depression for respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy and titrating with BUTRANS, as in these patients, even usual therapeutic doses of BUTRANS may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea [see Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression]. Consider the use of alternative non-opioid analgesics in these patients if possible. QTc Prolongation A positive-controlled study of the effects of BUTRANS on the QTc interval in healthy subjects demonstrated no clinically meaningful effect at a BUTRANS dose of 10 mcg/hour; however, a BUTRANS dose of 40 mcg/hour (given as two BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour Transdermal Systems) was observed to prolong the QTc interval [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Consider these observations in clinical decisions when prescribing BUTRANS to patients with hypokalemia or clinically unstable cardiac disease, including: unstable atrial fibrillation, symptomatic bradycardia, unstable congestive heart failure, or active myocardial ischemia. Avoid the use of BUTRANS in patients with a history of Long QT Syndrome or an immediate family member with this condition, or those taking Class IA antiarrhythmic medications (e.g., quinidine, procainamide, disopyramide) or Class III antiarrhythmic medications (e.g., sotalol, amiodarone, dofetilide). Hypotensive Effects BUTRANS may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is an increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics) [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dose of BUTRANS. Use In Patients With Head Injury Or Increased Intracranial Pressure Monitor patients taking BUTRANS who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors) for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with BUTRANS. BUTRANS may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of BUTRANS in patients with impaired consciousness or coma. Hepatotoxicity Although not observed in BUTRANS chronic pain clinical trials, cases of cytolytic hepatitis and hepatitis with jaundice have been observed in individuals receiving sublingual buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid dependence, both in clinical trials and in post-marketing adverse event reports. The spectrum of abnormalities ranges from transient asymptomatic elevations in hepatic transaminases to case reports of hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, hepatorenal syndrome, and hepatic encephalopathy. In many cases, the presence of pre-existing liver enzyme abnormalities, infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, concomitant usage of other potentially hepatotoxic drugs, and ongoing injection drug abuse may have played a causative or contributory role. For patients at increased risk of hepatotoxicity (e.g., patients with a history of excessive alcohol intake, intravenous drug abuse or liver disease), obtain baseline liver enzyme levels and monitor periodically and during treatment with BUTRANS. Application Site Skin Reactions In rare cases, severe application site skin reactions with signs of marked inflammation including “burn,” “discharge,” and “vesicles” have occurred. Time of onset varies, ranging from days to months following the initiation of BUTRANS treatment. Instruct patients to promptly report the development of severe application site reactions and discontinue therapy. Anaphylactic/Allergic Reactions Cases of acute and chronic hypersensitivity to buprenorphine have been reported both in clinical trials and in the post-marketing experience. The most common signs and symptoms include rashes, hives, and pruritus. Cases of bronchospasm, angioneurotic edema, and anaphylactic shock have been reported. A history of hypersensitivity to buprenorphine is a contraindication to the use of BUTRANS. Application Of External Heat Advise patients and their caregivers to avoid exposing the BUTRANS application site and surrounding area to direct external heat sources, such as heating pads or electric blankets, heat or tanning lamps, saunas, hot tubs, and heated water beds while wearing the system because an increase in absorption of buprenorphine may occur [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Advise patients against exposure of the BUTRANS application site and surrounding area to hot water or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. There is a potential for temperature-dependent increases in buprenorphine released from the system resulting in possible overdose and death. Patients With Fever Monitor patients wearing BUTRANS systems who develop fever or increased core body temperature due to strenuous exertion for opioid side effects and adjust the BUTRANS dose if signs of respiratory or central nervous system depression occur. Use In Patients With Gastrointestinal Conditions BUTRANS is contraindicated in patients with paralytic ileus. Avoid the use of BUTRANS in patients with other GI obstruction. The buprenorphine in BUTRANS may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms. Opioids may cause increases in the serum amylase. Use In Patients With Convulsive Or Seizure Disorders The buprenorphine in BUTRANS may aggravate convulsions in patients with convulsive disorders, and may induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during BUTRANS therapy. Driving And Operating Machinery BUTRANS may impair the mental and physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of BUTRANS and know how they will react to the medication. Use In Addiction Treatment BUTRANS has not been studied and is not approved for use in the management of addictive disorders. Patient Counseling Information Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide and Instructions for Use). Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse Inform patients that the use of BUTRANS, even when taken as recommended, can result in addiction, abuse, and misuse, which could lead to overdose and death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Instruct patients not to share BUTRANS with others and to take steps to protect BUTRANS from theft or misuse. Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression Inform patients of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, including information that the risk is greatest when starting BUTRANS or when the dose is increased, and that it can occur even at recommended doses [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Advise patients how to recognize respiratory depression and to seek medical attention if breathing difficulties develop. Accidental Exposure Inform patients that accidental exposure, especially in children, may result in respiratory depression or death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Instruct patients to take steps to store BUTRANS securely and to dispose of unused BUTRANS by folding the patch in half and flushing it down the toilet. Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome Inform female patients of reproductive potential that prolonged use of BUTRANS during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Interaction with Alcohol and other CNS Depressants Inform patients that potentially serious additive effects may occur if BUTRANS is used with alcohol or other CNS depressants, and not to use such drugs unless supervised by a health care provider. Important Administration Instructions Instruct patients how to properly use BUTRANS, including the following:
  1. To carefully follow instructions for the application, removal, and disposal of BUTRANS. Each week, apply BUTRANS to a different site based on the 8 described skin sites, with a minimum of 3 weeks between applications to a previously used site.
  2. To apply BUTRANS to a hairless or nearly hairless skin site. If none are available, instruct patients to clip the hair at the site and not to shave the area. Instruct patients not to apply to irritated skin. If the application site must be cleaned, use clear water only. Soaps, alcohol, oils, lotions, or abrasive devices should not be used. Allow the skin to dry before applying BUTRANS.
Hypotension Inform patients that BUTRANS may cause orthostatic hypotension and syncope. Instruct patients how to recognize symptoms of low blood pressure and how to reduce the risk of serious consequences should hypotension occur (e.g., sit or lie down, carefully rise from a sitting or lying position). Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery Inform patients that BUTRANS may impair the ability to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery. Advise patients not to perform such tasks until they know how they will react to the medication. Constipation Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation, including management instructions and when to seek medical attention. Anaphylaxis Inform patients that anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in BUTRANS. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention. Pregnancy Advise female patients that BUTRANS can cause fetal harm and to inform the prescriber if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Disposal Instruct patients to refer to the Instructions for Use for proper disposal of BUTRANS. Patients can dispose of used or unused BUTRANS patches in the trash by sealing it in the Patch-Disposal Unit, following the instructions on the unit. Alternatively, instruct patients to dispose of used patches by folding the adhesive side of the patch to itself, then flushing the patch down the toilet immediately upon removal. Unused patches should be removed from their pouches, the protective liners removed, the patches folded so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and immediately flushed down the toilet. Instruct patients to dispose of any patches remaining from a prescription as soon as they are no longer needed. Healthcare professionals can telephone Purdue Pharma's Medical Services Department (1-888-726-7535) for information on this product. Nonclinical Toxicology Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility Carcinogenesis Buprenorphine administered daily by skin painting to Sprague Dawley rats for 100 weeks at dosages (20, 60, or 200 mg/kg) produced systemic exposures (based on AUC) that ranged from approximately 130 to 350 times that of human subjects administered the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour. An increased incidence of benign testicular interstitial cell tumors, considered buprenorphine treatment-related, was observed in male rats compared with concurrent controls. The tumor incidence was also above the highest incidence in the historical control database of the testing facility. These tumors were noted at 60 mg/kg/day and higher at approximately 220 times the proposed MRHD based on AUC. The no observed effect level (NOEL) was 20 mg/kg/day (approximately 140 times the proposed MRHD based on AUC). The mechanism leading to the tumor findings and the relevance to humans is unknown. Buprenorphine was administered by skin painting to hemizygous Tg.AC mice over a 6-month study period. At the dosages administered daily (18.75, 37.5, 150, or 600 mg/kg/day), buprenorphine was not carcinogenic or tumorigenic at systemic exposure to buprenorphine, based on AUC, of up to approximately 1000 times that of human subjects administered BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour, the MRHD. Mutagenesis Buprenorphine was not genotoxic in 3 in vitro genetic toxicology studies (bacterial mutagenicity test, mouse lymphoma assay, chromosomal aberration assay in human peripheral blood lymphocytes), and in one in vivo mouse micronucleus test. Impairment of Fertility BUTRANS (1/4 of a BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour, one BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour, or one BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour every 3 days in males for 4 weeks prior to mating for a total of 10 weeks and in females for 2 weeks prior to mating through gestation day 7) had no effect on fertility or general reproductive performance of rats at AUC-based exposure levels as high as approximately 65 times (females) and 100 times (males) that for human subjects who received BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour, the MRHD. Use In Specific Populations Pregnancy Clinical Considerations Fetal/neonatal Adverse Reactions Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy for medical or nonmedical purposes can result in physical dependence in the neonate and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome shortly after birth. Observe newborns for symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, such as poor feeding, diarrhea, irritability, tremor, rigidity, and seizures, and manage accordingly [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Teratogenic Effects - Pregnancy Category C There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. BUTRANS should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. In animal studies, buprenorphine caused an increase in the number of stillborn offspring, reduced litter size, and reduced offspring growth in rats at maternal exposure levels that were approximately 10 times that of human subjects who received one BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour, the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD). Studies in rats and rabbits demonstrated no evidence of teratogenicity following BUTRANS or subcutaneous (SC) administration of buprenorphine during the period of major organogenesis. Rats were administered up to one BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour every 3 days (gestation days 6, 9, 12, & 15) or received daily SC buprenorphine up to 5 mg/kg (gestation days 6-17). Rabbits were administered four BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour every 3 days (gestation days 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, & 19) or received daily SC buprenorphine up to 5 mg/kg (gestation days 6-19). No teratogenicity was observed at any dose. AUC values for buprenorphine with BUTRANS application and SC injection were approximately 110 and 140 times, respectively, that of human subjects who received the MRHD of one BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour. Non-Teratogenic Effects In a peri- and post-natal study conducted in pregnant and lactating rats, administration of buprenorphine either as BUTRANS or SC buprenorphine was associated with toxicity to offspring. Buprenorphine was present in maternal milk. Pregnant rats were administered 1/4 of one BUTRANS 5 mcg/hour every 3 days or received daily SC buprenorphine at doses of 0.05, 0.5, or 5 mg/kg from gestation day 6 to lactation day 21 (weaning). Administration of BUTRANS or SC buprenorphine at 0.5 or 5 mg/kg caused maternal toxicity and an increase in the number of stillborns, reduced litter size, and reduced offspring growth at maternal exposure levels that were approximately 10 times that of human subjects who received the MRHD of one BUTRANS 20 mcg/hour. Maternal toxicity was also observed at the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) for offspring. Labor And Delivery Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression in neonates. BUTRANS is not for use in women during and immediately prior to labor, when shorter acting analgesics or other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics can prolong labor through actions that temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation, which tends to shorten labor. Nursing Mothers Buprenorphine is excreted in breast milk. The amount of buprenorphine received by the infant varies depending on the maternal plasma concentration, the amount of milk ingested by the infant, and the extent of first pass metabolism. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breast-feeding infants when maternal administration of buprenorphine is stopped. Because of the potential for adverse reactions in nursing infants from BUTRANS, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Pediatric Use The safety and efficacy of BUTRANS in patients under 18 years of age has not been established. Geriatric Use Of the total number of subjects in the clinical trials (5,415), BUTRANS was administered to 1,377 patients aged 65 years and older. Of those, 457 patients were 75 years of age and older. In the clinical program, the incidences of selected BUTRANS-related AEs were higher in older subjects. The incidences of application site AEs were slightly higher among subjects < 65 years of age than those ≥ 65 years of age for both BUTRANS and placebo treatment groups. In a single-dose study of healthy elderly and healthy young subjects treated with BUTRANS 10 mcg/hour, the pharmacokinetics were similar. In a separate dose-escalation safety study, the pharmacokinetics in the healthy elderly and hypertensive elderly subjects taking thiazide diuretics were similar to those in the healthy young adults. In the elderly groups evaluated, adverse event rates were similar to or lower than rates in healthy young adult subjects, except for constipation and urinary retention, which were more common in the elderly. Although specific dose adjustments on the basis of advanced age are not required for pharmacokinetic reasons, use caution in the elderly population to ensure safe use [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY Hepatic Impairment In a study utilizing intravenous buprenorphine, peak plasma levels (Cmax) and exposure (AUC) of buprenorphine in patients with mild and moderate hepatic impairment did not increase as compared to those observed in subjects with normal hepatic function. BUTRANS has not been evaluated in patients with severe hepatic impairment. As BUTRANS is intended for 7-day dosing, consider the use of alternate analgesic therapy in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Last reviewed on RxList: 7/17/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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