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How long does Bunavail (buprenorphine/naloxone) take to dissolve?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 8, 2023.

Official answer


Note that the brand Bunavail has been discontinued but generic equivalents are available under the name buprenorphine/naloxone. We have kept a record of this question for interest purposes only.

  • The length of time Bunavail takes to dissolve depends on its strength; however, it should dissolve within 15 to 30 minutes
  • The side with the writing on it (marked BN2, BN4, or BN6) should be placed against the inside of your cheek
  • The other side of the film contains a backing, that encourages the absorption of buprenorphine and naloxone through the inner cheek into the bloodstream, instead of being swallowed
  • Although there should be no residual film to remove afterward; some of the backing may remain. If any film is left, remove it after 30 minutes and dispose of it safely. All the active ingredients should have been absorbed from the active side of the strip.

Bunavail is a combination buccal film containing buprenorphine and naloxone.

The strips are bi-layered with a medication side and a backing that encourages the absorption of buprenorphine and naloxone through the inner cheek into the bloodstream. Because of this delivery system, more medication is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, rather than being swallowed.

How do you use Bunavail buccal film?

To use Bunavail buccal film:

  • Wet the inside of the cheek with the tongue.
  • Apply the side that has the active ingredients (this will be marked BN2, BN4, or BN6) to the wet area and hold in place for 5 seconds. The strip should stick upon contact.
  • The backing of the strip ensures nearly all the Bunavail is absorbed into the bloodstream, through the cheek. The strip has a citrus-blend flavor.
  • The time that it takes for each strip to dissolve varies depending on strength, but it is usually within 15 to 30 minutes.
  • You should not eat or drink while the strip is dissolving; however, you can still talk while it is in place.
  • There should be no residual film to remove afterward; however, if any is remaining after 30 minutes, you can remove it from your mouth and dispose of it safely. It is likely to just be the backing strip which contains no active ingredients.

Coadministration with liquids reduced the absorption of buprenorphine by 59% and naloxone, by up to 76%, which is why the film should be allowed to dissolve in the mouth without water or food.


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