A randomized, placebo-controlled study of the impact of the 7-day buprenorphine transdermal system on health-related quality of life in opioid-naïve patients with moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain

J Pain. 2013 Jan;14(1):14-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2012.09.016. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


This study evaluated the impact of treatment with Buprenorphine Transdermal System (BTDS) on the health-related quality of life for patients with moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain (CLBP), and the correspondence between quality of life and pain. A multicenter, enriched, double-blind (DB), placebo-controlled, randomized trial evaluated BTDS 10 and 20 μg/hour for treatment of opioid-naïve patients with moderate-to-severe CLBP. The SF-36v2 survey, which measures 8 domains of quality of life, was administered at screening and following an open-label run-in period with BTDS and at weeks 4, 8, and 12 of the DB phase. Post hoc analyses compared SF-36v2 scores between BTDS and placebo groups during the DB phase. Condition burden was examined through comparisons with a U.S. general population sample. Correlations examined the correspondence between quality of life and pain measures. BTDS produced larger improvements than placebo at 12 weeks in all quality-of-life domains (Ps < .05). Treatment group differences in both physical and mental quality of life emerged by 4 weeks. Patients' pretreatment quality of life was worse than that in the general population (Ps < .05); only BTDS treatment eliminated deficits in pain, social functioning, and role limitations due to emotional health. Improvements in quality of life were moderately associated with pain reduction. These data suggest that moderate-to-severe CLBP patients receiving BTDS exhibited better quality of life than patients receiving placebo.

Perspective: This post hoc analysis suggests that patients with moderate-to-severe CLBP treated with BTDS exhibit better health-related quality of life than those using placebo within 4 weeks of treatment, and were more likely to exhibit clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life following 12 weeks of treatment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Buprenorphine / administration & dosage
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / drug therapy*
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Buprenorphine