How Long Does The Buprenorphine Transdermal Patch Stay In Your System?

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Butrans is a trade name for the buprenorphine transdermal system. A buprenorphine transdermal system is a prescription skin patch that includes time-release buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. Butrans can be prescribed to treat severe, around-the-clock, long-term pain. The buprenorphine transdermal system typically wouldn’t be prescribed to someone until they’d tried other treatment options first. When a physician is considering prescribing the buprenorphine transdermal system, they should speak with their patient about the risks of opioid treatment. While buprenorphine has milder effects than opioids like heroin, there are still risks such as misuse, addiction and dependence. Physicians should go into the details of any history of substance misuse a patient has. Before prescribing a buprenorphine transdermal system, doctors should also speak with patients about any other drugs they use, in particular, benzodiazepines or other central nervous system depressants.
How Long Does The Buprenorphine Transdermal Patch Stay In Your System?
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, so it activates the same receptors as heroin and narcotic pain medicines but less intensely. Someone prescribed buprenorphine who uses it correctly shouldn’t experience euphoria or other effects people seek out when misusing opioids. Some people may purposely misuse the drug by taking higher doses or doing things like chewing the patch to get high, however. Buprenorphine is a Schedule III controlled substance. According to the DEA, it has a lower potential for misuse and addiction than most other opioids, which are usually Schedule II controlled substances in the U.S.
Buprenorphine isn’t just used as a pain relief medication. Buprenorphine is also a drug used to help treat opioid dependence and addiction. Since buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, it can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent people to help them complete treatment. Buprenorphine can also block the effects of other opioids, like heroin. Buprenorphine has a ceiling effect as well. Once it reaches a certain effect level in patients, even if they use more, it’s not going to increase the effects. There are drugs approved by the FDA containing buprenorphine to treat opioid dependence and help improve the chances of addiction recovery. These drugs include Subutex and Suboxone. There are also sublingual tablets like Zubsolv. Probuphine is an under-the-skin implant that provides a steady dose of buprenorphine for six months.
How Long Does The Buprenorphine Transdermal Patch Stay In Your System?
The buprenorphine transdermal system (Butrans) provides steady-state concentration levels of the active ingredient by the third day after the patch is first applied. As with other opioids, when someone uses the transdermal patch, the buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, but buprenorphine isn’t a perfect fit for these receptors. This is why the effects of buprenorphine are milder than other opioids. When buprenorphine is used as prescribed, it won’t create intense euphoria. Buprenorphine may cause mild respiratory depression at therapeutic doses but not as much as other opioids. If someone took a full opioid while using buprenorphine, it would likely have no effects. The buprenorphine transdermal system does change how the body senses and reacts to pain, however.
Buprenorphine is a very long-lasting opioid. The half-life of buprenorphine is anywhere from 24 to 42 hours, on average. It can take around five half-lives for a drug to be eliminated from the system of a patient. This means it could take as long as 210 hours, on average, for a dose of buprenorphine to leave the system of a patient. In some people, the half-life of buprenorphine can be as long as 60 hours. Buprenorphine is metabolized by the liver, so if someone has liver problems or impairment, it can take even longer. Buprenorphine is excreted in the urine and feces of the patient.
As with any drug, certain factors play a role in how long the buprenorphine transdermal system’s active drug stays in the system of a patient. If someone is well-hydrated, for example, they may eliminate buprenorphine from their system more quickly than someone who isn’t, because they’re producing more urine. Other things that can determine how long buprenorphine stays in your system can include:

  • Age: Older people’s systems may take longer to clear certain drugs and substances including buprenorphine.
  • Health and liver function: People with health problems, liver function impairment or hepatic impairment may take longer to excrete substances from their systems.
  • Body weight: Larger people often excrete drugs and other substances more quickly than smaller people.
  • Physical activity: If someone is physically active on a regular basis, their body may eliminate drugs more quickly.
  • Metabolism: A faster metabolism makes it easier for the body to eliminate substances from the system.
How long buprenorphine stays in the system or shows up in various drug tests depends on factors like the ones listed above. Buprenorphine may not show up on a standard drug-screening panel, either. Buprenorphine has a distinct metabolite from other opioids, which is the reason for that. However, if buprenorphine is specifically tested for, it can show up in urine for six days or longer. In a blood test, buprenorphine will typically show up for a shorter window of time. A blood test may show the use of buprenorphine for a day or so after it’s used, but blood tests aren’t commonly used to detect substances. As with other substances, buprenorphine could show up in a hair follicle test for 90 days or more after it’s used.

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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.