What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand-name medicine that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid pain reliever that is also known as a narcotic. Naloxone counteracts the effects of opioid medications, such as pain relief and feelings of well-being, which can lead to addiction.
Suboxone helps treat narcotic addiction. Do not use this drug as a pain reliever. You can buy Suboxone online with a prescription. A generic version of Suboxone is also available. There are two types of generic versions: an oral tablet and an oral film. The films and the tablets are sublingual, which means they dissolve when placed under your tongue. You can also dissolve the film by placing it between your gums and cheek.
- Suboxone can cause breathing difficulties. People with lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and bronchitis, are more likely to have severe problems.
- Suboxone use during pregnancy can cause a condition known as neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborn infants. Symptoms may include diarrhea, irritability, excessive crying, trouble sleeping, vomiting, or failure to gain weight.
- Taking Subutex with alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing may cause fatal side effects.
What to know before taking Suboxone?
Do not use Suboxone if you are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone (Narcan). To make sure Suboxone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- Breathing problems, sleep apnea
- Enlarged prostate, urination problems
- Liver or kidney disease
- Abnormal spine curvature that impairs breathing
- Problems with your adrenal gland, gallbladder, or thyroid
- A head injury, brain tumor, or seizures
- Alcoholism or drug addiction
If you use Suboxone while pregnant, your baby may become dependent on the drug. This can result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after birth. Babies born dependent on opioids may require medical care for several weeks. If you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor before using Suboxone. Inform your doctor if you notice the nursing baby is tired or breathing slowly.
How to take Suboxone?
Take Suboxone as directed by your doctor. Follow all the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Do not use Suboxone in larger doses or for longer than recommended. Inform your doctor if you have an increased desire to use this medication.
Before using a Suboxone sublingual film, drink water to moisten your mouth. This makes it easier for the film to dissolve. Apply one film to the inside of your right or left cheek. If your doctor recommends that you take two movies at once, one on the inside of one cheek and the other on the knowledge of the other.
While the film dissolves, do not chew or swallow it because the medicine will not work either. Place Suboxone sublingual tablets under the tongue until they dissolve. Do not give Suboxone to anyone else, especially someone with a history of drug addiction or abuse.
Misuse of this medicine can lead to addiction, overdose, or death. Keep the mixture in a safe place where no one else can get to it. It is illegal to sell or distribute Suboxone. However, you can order Suboxone online with a prescription. You may not use the same dose if you switch between buprenorphine-containing medicines.
You could have symptoms of withdrawal if you abruptly stop taking Suboxone. Consult your doctor about how to stop taking Suboxone safely. Never crush or break a Suboxone sublingual tablet to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into a vein. This practice can result in death.
Dosage for opioid dependence
When opioid use is reduced or stopped during the induction phase, Suboxone can help minimize withdrawal symptoms. During the maintenance phase, doctors give Suboxone continuously at a stable dose for a period ranging from several months to more than a year.
Dosage for induction
- On the first day, the doctor may prescribe a low Suboxone dose in their office. The dosage could be 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone or 4 mg buprenorphine/1 mg naloxone.
- The maximum dosage on the first day is 8 mg buprenorphine / 2 mg naloxone.
- If your withdrawal symptoms do not improve on day 2, your doctor will give you the same dose as on day one, plus 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone or 4 mg buprenorphine/1 mg naloxone.
- During induction, your Suboxone dosage may be increased to a maximum of 32 mg buprenorphine /8 mg naloxone once daily.
An overdose of Suboxone can cause the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain or upset
- Weakness or fatigue
- Trouble breathing
- Decreased touch sensation
- Burning tongue
What to avoid while using Suboxone?
Do not drink alcohol while using Suboxone. Consuming alcohol while on Suboxone may increase your risk of dangerous side effects such as breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, coma, and excessive sleepiness. You should not drive until you know how Suboxone will affect you. Dizziness or extreme drowsiness can result in falls, accidents, or serious injuries.
Suboxone side effects
Suboxone can cause a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis. An allergic reaction can cause the following symptoms:
- Breathing problems
- Hives or a rash on the skin
- Swelling of lips, tongue, and throat
Common side effects
Some common side effects of Suboxone include:
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal cramps, body aches, and rapid heart rate
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Weakness or fatigue
- Back pain
- Burning tongue
- Redness in the mouth
Serious side effects
The following are examples of serious side effects:
- Breathing difficulties
- Liver damage
- Severe allergic reaction
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
- Abuse and dependence
- Hormone problems (adrenal insufficiency)
Suboxone has the potential to interact with a variety of other medications. Some medicines that can interact with Suboxone are as follows:
- Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), midazolam
- Erythromycin, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, HIV protease inhibitors, such as atazanavir and ritonavir
- Carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, rifampin
- Certain opioids, such as fentanyl and tramadol
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as linezolid (Zyvox), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Buspirone, an anxiety medication
At the end of the day, Suboxone is a medication that helps opioid addicts manage their pain. It’s not a miracle cure that will eliminate their heroin addiction overnight. But it can help them manage their opioid use and reduce its impact on their lives.
Suboxone can help people avoid opioid withdrawal symptoms and have a better quality of life. It's especially important for those who have been addicted to opioids for many years or abuse prescription drugs.