Side Effects Of Suboxone | Common, Severe, & Long-Term

Despite the good it can do, Suboxone also comes with a number of unpleasant side effects.

Suboxone is the brand name for the combination medication of buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and opioid dependence.

It’s often prescribed as a sublingual film that goes under the tongue or as a tablet you swallow. It’s also likely used in place of methadone or naltrexone.

Even though it can be effective for treating OUD, Suboxone comes with a variety of side effects. Some are common, some severe, and some can be long-term.

About Suboxone

Suboxone is considered a schedule III controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means it has a potential for abuse.

The medication is primarily considered a controlled substance because of its ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is an opioid antagonist that helps prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Naloxone is also an opioid antagonist. It blocks the effect of opioids and can treat an opioid overdose, but it can also lead to severe opioid withdrawal if injected and then abruptly discontinued.

Common Side Effects Of Suboxone

Suboxone is considered a partial opioid agonist that blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This reduces urges and cravings for opioids.

Despite the good it can do, the drug also comes with a number of unpleasant side effects. Some of the most common include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • sweating
  • numbness in the mouth
  • constipation
  • pain in the tongue
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • problems with concentration
  • irregular heartbeat
  • insomnia
  • blurry vision
  • back pain
  • sleepiness
  • abdominal cramps
  • rapid heart rate
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue

Severe Side Effects Of Suboxone

Suboxone can also lead to some very serious side effects. They may be rare, but you should still be aware of them. Severe side effects may include:

  • severe allergic reaction like hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • abuse and dependence
  • breathing problems/respiratory depression
  • coma
  • hormone problems
  • liver damage
  • irregular heartbeat
  • severe dizziness
  • confusion
  • weight loss
  • hallucinations
  • sleep apnea
  • slowed breathing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • inability to wake up

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. And if the symptoms feel life-threatening, call 911 to get emergency medical attention.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Suboxone

While some side effects may disappear after you use Suboxone for a while, some will stick around. Some may even last after you stop taking the medication.

Some long-term side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue and weakness
  • dizziness
  • low blood pressure
  • depression
  • liver damage
  • stomach pain
  • fatigue
  • yellowing of skin or whites of eyes
  • insomnia
  • abuse and dependence

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you take Suboxone for a long period of time (a month at least) or are abusing it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking it.

These withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • indigestion
  • anxiety
  • runny nose
  • depression
  • irritability
  • cravings
  • fever
  • chills
  • sweating
  • concentration difficulties

These symptoms can be avoided by slowly tapering the dose of the medication before you completely stop. A healthcare professional should aid in this tapering process.

Suboxone Drug Interactions

To avoid even more serious side effects, it’s important to know what substances and medication not to take with Suboxone.

The following should not be taken with Suboxone:

  • alcohol
  • marijuana
  • antihistamines
  • sedatives/benzodiazepine medication like alprazolam and diazepam
  • muscle relaxants
  • opioid pain relievers like oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone

Suboxone & Pregnancy

Suboxone use is also not recommended for those who are pregnant. It can go to the fetus and, once they’re born and no longer receiving the drug, they can go through neonatal withdrawal syndrome.

This can lead to side effects like:

  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • excessive crying
  • trouble sleeping
  • failure to gain weight

It’s also not recommended to take Suboxone while breastfeeding. The drug can go into breast milk and the baby can ingest it.

This can lead to side effects such as:

  • excessive sleepiness
  • failure to gain weight
  • lethargy
  • trouble breathing

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction or another form of drug abuse, contact Northeast Addiction Treatment Center today to learn about our outpatient treatment programs.

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