Norspan Patches


What is Norspan?

Norspan is a brand of transdermal Buprenorphine in the form of a patch that is prescribed for chronic severe pain.

This information has been developed for patients who have been prescribed Norspan patches for the management of their pain. 


Advice Regarding the Use of Norspan Patches

  • Avoid applying heat directly to the patch (i.e. hot water bottles or electric blankets) as this may increase the absorption of the medication and hence increase side effects.
  • Always replace the patch on the same day and time (approximately) as the initial patch was applied.
  • Avoid placing the patch on the same site two weeks in a row.
    • It is not necessary to place the patch on the site of your pain. You may also place the patch on the lower limbs and buttocks. 
  • Generally, do not place the patch on the same area as where you experience your pain because the skin over this area can sometimes be super sensitive.
  • Avoid driving any vehicle if you experience drowsiness while using Norspan patches.
  • Norspan is significantly safer than other narcotic analgesics but this extra safety factor is lost if Norspan is used with significant amounts of benzodiazepines such as Valium/Diazepam, Kalma/Xanax and Serepax.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure an ongoing supply of Norspan patches through your general practitioner.


What Are the Side Effects?

Common side effects and guidelines for managing any side effects that may occur are advised below.

  • Nausea.
    • Your prescribing doctor will provide you with a prescription for some anti-nausea medication.
    • In addition to this, you can obtain ginger tablets from you local health food shop or pharmacy. Including ginger in your meals or drinking ginger beer/ tea may also alleviate nausea.
    • You can also obtain an anti nausea acupressure band from your local chemist.
  • Drowsiness and dizziness may occur initially or when you increase the dose of your patch.
    • It is advisable to try to “weather it out” as this will most likely settle after a few days.
    • If drowsiness or dizziness persists contact your treating doctor.
  • Itching is a side effect generally directly where the patch is applied.
    • Always remember to rotate the position of the patch.
    • If itching is persistent, try applying aloe vera to the area after the patch is removed.


If you require further information regarding this treatment, please contact the nurses at Hunter Pain Clinic on (02) 4985 1800.


* Image by Shoepolish (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons