If you are using the patch form of buprenorphine, a short-term medication may be also be prescribed, as it often takes a few days for the effects of buprenorphine to be felt. Many forms of buprenorphine are available. Your healthcare provider will recommend a dosage of buprenorphine based on your reason for taking it, the form being used, how you respond to it, and other factors.
The dose of buprenorphine (Buprenex®, Butrans®, Subutex®, Suboxone®) your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The particular product you use
- The reason you are taking buprenorphine
- The type and dose of other opioids you have been taking
- How you respond to the medication
- Your weight (for children)
- Other medications you take
- Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
The usual starting dose of buprenorphine injection (Buprenex) for pain for most people age 13 and older is 1 mL (0.3 mg) given by intramuscular injection (IM injection) or by intravenous infusion (IV).
After the very first dose, a repeat dose can be given after 30 to 60 minutes, if needed, to achieve adequate pain control. Thereafter, the medication is usually given every six hours as needed for pain. In elderly people, people with breathing problems, or other individuals at high risk for serious buprenorphine side effects, a lower dosage of 0.5 mL (0.15 mg) should be given, at least initially.
In some adults, a higher dosage of 2 mL (0.6 mg) may be necessary. This amount should only be given by IM injection, not by IV.
For children 2 through 12 years of age, a healthcare provider will calculate an appropriate dosage based on the child's weight. Interestingly, children may metabolize buprenorphine more quickly than adults. In some cases, children may need more frequent doses -- every four hours, instead of every six.