What Are the Side-Effects of Suboxone?
Author: Justin Mckibben
With such a high rate of opioid abuse across the country, concerning both prescription medications and illicit narcotics, the demand for access to treatment has become paramount to addressing the opioid epidemic. One form of treatment for addiction is based around maintenance medications, using a strategy consistent with the concept of harm reduction. One of the most well-known maintenance drugs for treating opioid addiction is Suboxone.
Suboxone is the brand name for a prescription drug created using a combination of the opioid buprenorphine with naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids. This drug has become a commonly sought after method of treatment, but there are also those who abuse the drug. While the addition of naloxone is to deter abuse, their website still acknowledges the possibility of the drug being abused like any other opioids.
With such a powerful prescription medication there are sure to be side-effects. Before someone choses to use Suboxone for treatment, they should be aware of all potential risks.
Common Mild Side-Effects of Suboxone
Some of the side-effects of Suboxone are milder than others, especially when taken as directed. Still, it is important to be mindful of the adverse effects. Some of the mild side-effects of Suboxone include:
- Drug withdrawal syndrome
- Mild dizziness
- Numbness or tingling
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Stomach pain
- Back pain
- Redness, pain, or numbness in your mouth
- Feeling drunk
- Trouble concentrating
Serious Side-Effects of Suboxone
As with any narcotic medication, there can also be some more serious or severe side-effects of Suboxone. It is important to seek medical assistance right away if you experience the more serious side-effects of Suboxone, such as:
- Severe dizziness
- Mood changes
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Unusual drowsiness
- Difficulty waking up
Of course for someone allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone can experience other serious negative side-effects of Suboxone, such as anaphylactic shock.
Side-Effects of Suboxone Abuse
Suboxone can be useful with curbing the negative symptoms of opioid abuse, but it can also be extremely dangerous when abused and mixed with other substances. This is especially true concerning medications or substances that act on the nervous system like sedatives or alcohol.
For instance, because Suboxone in the dissolvable film formulation is designed to deter injection, intravenous use of the drug with other substances can cause horrible effects, like:
- Severe breathing problems
Injecting the film formula of Suboxone can also cause sudden withdrawal symptoms to appear, such as:
- Sleep problems
According to the Suboxone website all the included side-effects listed is not a complete list of every reported adverse effects of Suboxone.
There are numerous other side-effects of Suboxone that can vary depending on other elements like pre-existing health conditions, dosage and frequency of use. Also for those who have used Suboxone for an extended period of time these symptoms may vary in length and intensity.
Suboxone Dependence and Recovery
Buprenorphine is a partial agonist at the mu‐opioid receptor. As with other powerful opioid medications, prolonged administration of Suboxone produces physical dependence of the opioid. This can be caused by legal or illicit use.
Suboxone dependence is characterized by moderate withdrawal signs and symptoms upon abruptly stopping the dosage or by a rapid taper. Because of all this it is very important that serious precaution be taken when dealing with Suboxone. Any use of this drug should be closely monitored.
However, it is crucial to recognize that someone can become dependent on Suboxone like with other drugs, and there are withdrawals. In fact, Suboxone is only considered to be an effective mode of treatment for opioid addiction when combined with counseling and a comprehensive recovery plan.
Just taking Suboxone isn’t enough. In fact, without proper treatment it is just another risk.