How can you minimise the risks of medication errors with buprenorphine patches?

Tiffany Barrett, Interim co-director, South West Medicines Information and Training, NHS England SouthSource South West Medicines InformationPublished

Transdermal buprenorphine patches are widely prescribed and available from a variety of manufacturers. A number of patient safety incidents have occurred in the use of transdermal opiate patches and concerns have been raised nationally about errors seen with these products.

There are two groups of buprenorphine patches, lower strength and higher strength and there are at least 8 different brands and 21 individual preparations in each of the low and  high strength categories.   This Q&A aims to cover a number of topics in order to improve the safety of buprenorphine patch prescribing and administration, as well as highlighting some of the concerns. This Q&A does not compare the costs of the various transdermal buprenorphine products.