What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone? - Buprenorphine Doctors

What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, is a medication assisted treatment for addictions to both opioids and opiates. It consists of the two drugs Buprenorphine and Naloxone and needs to be administered under medical supervision. The benefit of Suboxone is that it lessens the brain’s need for an opiate and prevents withdrawal symptoms. However, as with any medication, there are side effects to Suboxone that you want to be aware of when seeking Suboxone treatment.

When Should I First Begin to See Side Effects?

Suboxone is administered in three separate phases called induction, stabilization, and maintenance.

  • Induction: The induction phase occurs when the medication is given after 12-24 hours since the last drug use and when the first signs of withdrawal are seen. It is crucial to ensure that the opioid or opiate is not in the bloodstream before giving Suboxone to prevent further issues from occurring.  This is where you may first begin to experience side effects from Suboxone.
  • Stabilization: The stabilization phase occurs when the patient has decreased or fully stopped their drug abuse, does not experience cravings, and has few/no side effects. During stabilization, the dose of Suboxone can be adjusted by your Suboxone doctor.  If you are still experiencing severe side effects, be sure to alert your doctor as a lower dose could help.
  • Maintenance: The last phase is maintenance where the patient has been doing well on their current dose, and the doctor can begin to make decreases in the amount of medication given. This decrease in medication dose varies between person to person and is determined by the doctor that has been working with you.  At this point, the side effects should be minimal to none, due to the lower dosage.

What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

With every medication, there are side effects to be aware of. While these side effects can be minor to severe and vary among individuals, it is important to notify your doctor when you notice something out of the ordinary. Here are some of the minor to moderate side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mouth or tongue pain/numbness
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble concentrating

Your doctor should be notified if you experience any of the severe side effects listed below:

  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Mood changes
  • Swollen face, arms, and/or legs
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure

How Can I Prevent These Symptoms from Happening?

It is not guaranteed that you will experience symptoms from Suboxone treatment, but it is always good to know how to manage the less severe ones if they come about. As always, contact your doctor if anything changes with how you are feeling. If they are less severe symptoms, you can try some of these simple remedies:

  • Take Suboxone after a meal to prevent an upset stomach. An antacid can also be used to ease the discomfort, such as Tums.
  • To prevent pain or numbness in your mouth or tongue, switch the side of the mouth where you place the Suboxone every time you take a dose.
  • For constipation, you can drink more water and eat foods that are high in fiber like vegetables and whole grains.
  • To help with sleeping difficulties, limit your caffeine intake, try not to take many naps, and keep a regular time when you go to sleep at night.

These are easy ways to help with some of the side effects from Suboxone. If you cannot get relief, contact your doctor because they may have other options for you to be comfortable.

Talk to Your Suboxone Doctor about Treatment

Be sure to discuss the side effects with your Suboxone doctor to ensure you are comfortable taking this medication and to see if this addiction treatment program will work for you.  You should also alert your doctor to any health conditions, medications or allergies you have that could put you at a higher risk for unwelcome side effects.

For anyone suffering from an opioid or opiate addiction, there is hope for a better life.  Suboxone can decrease your opioid or opiate dependence and help you beat your drug addiction. 

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To discover alternative addiction treatment options, please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Locator the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Treatment Navigator.