What is Suboxone?
Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone is a special narcotic drug that reverses the effects of other narcotic medicines.
Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction.
Before taking Suboxone
You should not use Suboxone if you are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone (Narcan).
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, please let our office know if you have any of the following:
- asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, or other breathing disorder;
- enlarged prostate, urination problems;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- curvature of the spine that affects breathing;
- underactive thyroid;
- gallbladder disease;
- Addison’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder);
- a history of mental illness, hallucinations, or psychotic episode;
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or
- a history of seizures, head injury, or brain tumor.
Do not give Suboxone to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice. The use of this medicine by a child can result in death. Seek emergency medical attention if a child has accidentally swallowed the medication.
Buprenorphine may be habit forming. Never share Suboxone with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Suboxone side effects:
Along with its needed effects, buprenorphine / naloxone may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Please call our office immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking buprenorphine / naloxone:
- Cough or hoarseness
- feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded
- feeling of warmth or heat
- fever or chills
- flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking buprenorphine / naloxone:
Symptoms of overdose
- Blurred vision
- difficult or troubled breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- pinpoint pupils
- relaxed and calm feeling
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects of buprenorphine / naloxone may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, Dr. Dixon may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- difficulty having a bowl movement
- lack or loss of strength
- trouble sleeping
- Back pain
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
How should I take Suboxone?
Take Suboxone exactly as directed by Dr. Dixon. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Using Suboxone improperly will increase your risk of serious side effects or death. Even if you have used other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from this medicine. Follow all dosing instructions carefully. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Before taking this medicine, drink a glass of water to moisten your mouth. Place the sublingual film under the tongue and allow it to dissolve. Do not chew the film, and do not swallow it whole.
Never dissolve a film to mix into a liquid for injecting the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of buprenorphine and similar prescription drugs.
Do not stop using Suboxone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take Suboxone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are being treated for narcotic addiction. Make sure your family members know you are using buprenorphine in case they need to speak for you during an emergency.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the sublingual film in the foil pouch until ready to use. After opening a pouch, you must use the medicine right away. Discard the empty pouch in a place children and pets cannot get to.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Buprenorphine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of buprenorphine can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include blurred vision, severe drowsiness, slurred speech, loss of coordination, thinking problems, weakness or limp feeling, and weak or shallow breathing (breathing may stop).
What should I avoid while taking Suboxone?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with Suboxone. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall. This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Suboxone will affect you.