Can you take Butrans/buprenorphine while pregnant?

Butrans is a transdermal patch containing the generic prescription drug buprenorphine. It’s applied to the skin and delivers opioid medication in order to alter the way that the central nervous system perceives and feels pain. Butrans is used to treat patients who are suffering from severe, ongoing pain.

The Butrans patch can also be used during the opioid detoxification process and withdrawal from heroin and other opioids. If you feel that you need to use Butrans for this purpose, talk to your doctor.

Clinical studies have not been conducted on pregnant mothers to show the effects of taking Butrans while pregnant. Animal studies have been done and show an increased risk of stillbirths and reduced growth of offspring, so it’s best not to take Butrans while you are pregnant.

As with most prescription medications, Butrans has a possibility of side effects, some of which are common and others are serious.

Some common side effects of Butrans are nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, or headache. Since Butrans is a transdermal patch, you may experience irritation, itching, or redness where it’s applied on the skin.

There’s a chance of more serious side effects from Butrans, such as:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Weak or shallow breathing
  • Deep sighs
  • Snoring that is new for you or unusual
  • Confusion
  • Severe dizziness
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Severe irritation at the patch site
  • Seizure (convulsions)

If you experience any side effects, call your doctor right away as some of these may be serious. You can decide together if Butrans is the right medication and delivery system for you.

Will taking Butrans/buprenorphine cause birth defects?

When evaluating a medication’s safety for pregnant women, the FDA rates each medicine on a scale of A, B, C, D, or X. Butrans has been listed as C on the safety scale for pregnant women, which means there are possible risks to the baby. If the benefits of taking Butrans for the mother outweigh the potential risks to the baby, doctors may consider prescribing it.

Case studies haven’t shown any correlation between taking Butrans while pregnant and birth defects, but the data is limited. Remember anything you take while you’re pregnant is being shared with the fetus, so the best practice is to avoid medications when possible.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.