When used in conjunction with behavioral therapy, Suboxone is a highly effective treatment for opioid addiction.
Research indicates that patients taking buprenorphine-based medications, like Suboxone, are more likely to continue treatment than those not taking it.
Like any prescribed medication, Suboxone comes with a list of potential side effects.
Many of the side effects are mild and can be managed at home. However, it is important to discuss the potential side effects, and your medical history with a doctor to determine the best course of action.
Read below for more information about Suboxone side effects.
Common Suboxone Side Effects
Suboxone comes in the form of a pill or film that is placed beneath the tongue. The medication is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as an effective component in treating opioid dependence.
These are common effects of Suboxone that you may experience, including:
- Numb mouth or tongue
- Burning or redness of the mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Back Pain
While these are uncomfortable issues, they are typically mild side effects that do not indicate a larger underlying reaction to the drug.
Most patients experience at least a few unpleasant symptoms on the path to overcoming addiction. Joining a support group with people who understand your situation can be a valuable tool when dealing with the lows of the journey. However, if you feel that the symptoms are unmanageable or severe, seek your doctor's immediate guidance.
Serious Suboxone Side Effects
There are severe Suboxone side effects that signal more urgent issues.
The following are side effects that you should contact your doctor about immediately.
- Swelling of the face
- Loss of consciousness
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Dark urine
- Light stools
- abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Other serious side effects include dizziness or fainting, which can point to low blood pressure.
Misuse of Suboxone increases the risk of serious side effects. For example, alcohol consumption is prohibited for those taking Suboxone because alcohol and Suboxone are nervous system depressants.
Drinking alcohol while on Suboxone can lead to:
- Serious respiratory suppression
- Decreased blood flow
- Impaired judgment
- Tissue and organ damage
- Brain damage
Take Suboxone as directed by your doctor, and notify them if your health declines.
Side Effects vs. Withdrawal
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that Suboxone mitigates withdrawal symptoms. However, a patient may feel the symptoms of opioid withdrawal after discontinuing opioid use and starting to take Suboxone if a patient does not wait long enough before their first dose, this is called precipitated withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms can be especially strong in the first phase—also known as the induction phase—of treatment.
Withdrawal symptoms during the induction phase include:
- Body aches
- Increased heart rate
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Inability to sleep
- Difficulty focusing
You may mistake drug withdrawal symptoms as Suboxone side effects when you begin taking the medication. Monitor your symptoms and observe whether they subside as time passes.
In order to avoid precipitating withdrawal, it is important that you are in “moderate” withdrawal according to the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). The COWS can be administered by anyone and can be downloaded here.
You can always reach out to your doctor with questions and concerns. It’s important to be honest about any adverse Suboxone effects you have experienced so that your doctor is well informed.
Learn More about Suboxone and Overcoming Addiction
For most patients, evidence-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the best option for recovery. Suboxone offers the ability to break addiction without experiencing acute withdrawals. It offers a path away from harmful substances and makes staying on track achievable.
At MATClinics, our highly trained doctors monitor patients to ensure that they receive the care they need while overcoming addiction. We understand that the road to recovery is different for everyone. That’s why we tailor our programs to meet the unique needs of our patients.
Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can walk with you through this journey.