Effects of intermittent hemodialysis on buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine plasma concentrations in chronic pain patients treated with transdermal buprenorphine

Eur J Pain. 2006 Nov;10(8):743-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2005.12.001. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


The present study was designed to study the impact of intermittent hemodialysis on the disposition of the partial agonist buprenorphine and its metabolite norbuprenorphine during therapy with transdermal buprenorphine in chronic pain patients with end-stage kidney disease. Ten patients (mean age 63 years) who had received transdermal buprenorphine for at least 1 week, were asked to provide blood samples immediately before and after hemodialysis. Blood samples were analysed for buprenorphine and its metabolite norbuprenorphine. The median buprenorphine plasma concentrations were found to be 0.16 ng/ml before and 0.23 ng/ml after hemodialysis. A significant correlation between plasma levels and administered doses was observed (Spearman R=0.74; P<0.05). In three patients norbuprenorphine plasma levels were detected. No differences in pain relief before and after hemodialysis were observed. This investigation shows no elevated buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine plasma levels in patients with renal insufficiency receiving transdermal buprenorphine up to 70 microg/h. Furthermore, hemodialysis did not affect buprenorphine plasma levels, leading to stable analgesic effects during the therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / blood*
  • Buprenorphine / administration & dosage
  • Buprenorphine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Buprenorphine / blood*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / blood*
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Buprenorphine
  • norbuprenorphine