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Suboxone Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) is a combination of two opioid receptor antagonists used in the maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. Side effects of Suboxone include mouth numbness, mouth redness, mouth pain, headache, dizziness, numbness or tingling, drowsiness, sleep problems (insomnia), stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, feeling drunk, or trouble concentrating.
It is intended for sublingual administration and is available in two dosage strengths, 2 mg buprenorphine with 0.5 mg naloxone and 8 mg buprenorphine with 2 mg naloxone. Suboxone may interact with other drugs including benzodiazepines, erythromycin, rifampin, and HIV protease inhibitors. Buprenorphine and naloxone may dangerously increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness. Neonatal withdrawal has been reported in the infants of women treated with buprenorphine during pregnancy. Breastfeeding is not advised in mothers treated with buprenorphine products as it is known to pass into breast milk.
Our Suboxone Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Suboxone in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Like other narcotic medicines, buprenorphine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
Call your doctor at once or seek emergency medical attention if you have:
- extreme drowsiness;
- loss of coordination, weakness or limp feeling;
- blurred vision, slurred speech, thinking problems;
- weak or shallow breathing;
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; or
- withdrawal symptoms--diarrhea, vomiting, shaking or shivering, runny nose, watery eyes, muscle pain, and feeling very hot or cold.
Common side effects may include:
- headache, mild dizziness;
- numbness or tingling;
- drowsiness, or sleep problems (insomnia);
- stomach pain, vomiting, constipation;
- redness, pain, or numbness in your mouth;
- feeling drunk; or
- trouble concentrating.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Suboxone (Buprenorphine HCl and naloxone HCl)
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Suboxone Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (such as a stimulant type with stool softener).
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Although this medication is used to prevent withdrawal reactions, it may rarely cause narcotic withdrawal symptoms (see also How to Use section). This is more likely to happen when you first start treatment or if you have been using long-acting narcotics such as methadone. If such symptoms occur, tell your doctor or pharmacist right away.
Severe (possibly fatal) breathing problems can occur, especially if this medication is abused, injected, or mixed with other depressants (such as alcohol, benzodiazepines including diazepam, other narcotics).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), slow/shallow breathing, unusual drowsiness/difficulty waking up.
This drug may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting/loss of appetite, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Suboxone (Buprenorphine HCl and naloxone HCl)
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Suboxone FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Clinical Trials Experience
The safety of SUBOXONE sublingual film is supported by clinical trials using SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets and SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets, and other trials using buprenorphine sublingual solutions, as well as an open-label study in 194 patients treated with SUBOXONE sublingual film administered sublingually and 188 patients treated with the film administered buccally. In total, safety data from clinical studies are available from over 3000 opioid-dependent subjects exposed to buprenorphine at doses in the range used in the treatment of opioid dependence. Few differences in the adverse event profile were noted with regard to sublingually and bucally administered SUBOXONE sublingual film, SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets, SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets and a buprenorphine ethanolic sublingual solution.
The most common adverse event ( > 1%) associated with the sublingual administration of the SUBOXONE sublingual film was oral hypoesthesia. Other adverse events were constipation, glossodynia, oral mucosal erythema, vomiting, intoxication, disturbance in attention, palpitations, insomnia, withdrawal syndrome, hyperhidrosis, and blurred vision.
The most common adverse events associated with the buccal administration were similar to those observed with sublingual administration of the film.
Other adverse event data were derived from larger, controlled studies of SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets and SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) tablets and of buprenorphine sublingual solution. In a comparative study of SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets and SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets, adverse event profiles were similar for subjects treated with 16 mg/4 mg SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets or 16 mg SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets. The following adverse events were reported to occur by at least 5% of patients in a 4 week study of SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets and SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets.
Table 2: Adverse Events (a 5%) by Body System and
Treatment Group in a 4 Week Study
|Body System/ Adverse Event (COSTART Terminology)||SUBOXONE (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets 16 mg/4 mg/day
|SUBUTEX (buprenorphine) sublingual tablets 16 mg/day
|Body as a Whole|
|Asthenia||7 (6.5%)||5 (4.9%)||7 (6.5%)|
|Chills||8 (7.5%)||8 (7.8%)||8 (7.5%)|
|Headache||39 (36.4%)||30 (29.1%)||24 (22.4%)|
|Infection||6 (5.6%)||12 (11.7%)||7 (6.5%)|
|Pain||24 (22.4%)||19 (18.4%)||20 (18.7%)|
|Pain abdomen||12 (11.2%)||12 (11.7%)||7 (6.5%)|
|Pain back||4 (3.7%)||8 (7.8%)||12 (11.2%)|
|Withdrawal syndrome||27 (25.2%)||19 (18.4%)||40 (37.4%)|
|Vasodilation||10 (9.3%)||4 (3.9%)||7 (6.5%)|
|Constipation||13 (12.1%)||8 (7.8%)||3 (2.8%)|
|Diarrhea||4 (3.7%)||5 (4.9%)||16 (15.0%)|
|Nausea||16 (15.0%)||14 (13.6%)||12 (11.2%)|
|Vomiting||8 (7.5%)||8 (7.8%)||5 (4.7%)|
|Insomnia||15 (14.0%)||22 (21.4%)||17 (15.9%)|
|Rhinitis||5 (4.7%)||10 (9.7%)||14 (13.1%)|
|Skin And Appendages|
|Sweating||15 (14.0%)||13 (12.6%)||11 (10.3%)|
|Abbreviations: COSTART = Coding Symbols for Thesaurus of Adverse Reaction Terms.|
The adverse event profile of buprenorphine was also characterized in the dose-controlled study of a buprenorphine ethanolic solution, over a range of doses in four months of treatment. Table 3 shows adverse events reported by at least 5% of subjects in any dose group in the dose-controlled trial.
Table 3: Adverse Events ( ≥ 5%) by Body System and
Treatment Group in a 16 Week Study
|Body System/ Adverse Event (COSTART Terminology)||Buprenorphine Dose|
N=184 n (%)
N=180 n (%)
N=186 n (%)
N=181 n (%)
N=731 n (%)
|Body as a Whole|
|Abscess||9 (5%)||2 (1%)||3 (2%)||2 (1%)||16 (2%)|
|Asthenia||26 (14%)||28 (16%)||26 (14%)||24 (13%)||104 (14%)|
|Chills||11 (6%)||12 (7%)||9 (5%)||10 (6%)||42 (6%)|
|Fever||7 (4%)||2 (1%)||2 (1%)||10 (6%)||21 (3%)|
|Flu syndrome||4 (2%)||13 (7%)||19 (10%)||8 (4%)||44 (6%)|
|Headache||51 (28%)||62 (34%)||54 (29%)||53 (29%)||220 (30%)|
|Infection||32 (17%)||39 (22%)||38 (20%)||40 (22%)||149 (20%)|
|Injury accidental||5 (3%)||10 (6%)||5 (3%)||5 (3%)||25 (3%)|
|Pain||47 (26%)||37 (21%)||49 (26%)||44 (24%)||177 (24%)|
|Pain back||18 (10%)||29 (16%)||28 (15%)||27 (15%)||102 (14%)|
|Withdrawal syndrome||45 (24%)||40 (22%)||41 (22%)||36 (20%)||162 (22%)|
|Constipation||10 (5%)||23 (13%)||23 (12%)||26 (14%)||82 (11%)|
|Diarrhea||19 (10%)||8 (4%)||9 (5%)||4 (2%)||40 (5%)|
|Dyspepsia||6 (3%)||10 (6%)||4 (2%)||4 (2%)||24 (3%)|
|Nausea||12 (7%)||22 (12%)||23 (12%)||18 (10%)||75 (10%)|
|Vomiting||8 (4%)||6 (3%)||10 (5%)||14 (8%)||38 (5%)|
|Anxiety||22 (12%)||24 (13%)||20 (11%)||25 (14%)||91 (12%)|
|Depression||24 (13%)||16 (9%)||25 (13%)||18 (10%)||83 (11%)|
|Dizziness||4 (2%)||9 (5%)||7 (4%)||11 (6%)||31 (4%)|
|Insomnia||42 (23%)||50 (28%)||43 (23%)||51 (28%)||186 (25%)|
|Nervousness||12 (7%)||11 (6%)||10 (5%)||13 (7%)||46 (6%)|
|Somnolence||5 (3%)||13 (7%)||9 (5%)||11 (6%)||38 (5%)|
|Cough increase||5 (3%)||11 (6%)||6 (3%)||4 (2%)||26 (4%)|
|Pharyngitis||6 (3%)||7 (4%)||6 (3%)||9 (5%)||28 (4%)|
|Rhinitis||27 (15%)||16 (9%)||15 (8%)||21 (12%)||79 (11%)|
|Skin and Appendages|
|Sweat||23 (13%)||21 (12%)||20 (11%)||23 (13%)||87 (12%)|
|Runny eyes||13 (7%)||9 (5%)||6 (3%)||6 (3%)||34 (5%)|
|*Sublingual solution. Doses in this tab e cannot
necessarily be delivered in tablet form, but for comparison purposes:
1 mg solution would be less than a tablet dose of 2 mg
4 mg solution approximates a 6 mg tablet dose
8 mg solution approximates a 12 mg tablet dose
16 mg solution approximates a 24 mg tablet dose
The safety of SUBOXONE sublingual film during treatment induction is supported by a clinical trial using 16 patients treated with SUBOXONE sublingual film and 18 treated with a buprenorphine-only sublingual film. Few differences in the adverse event profiles were noted between SUBOXONE sublingual film and the buprenorphineonly sublingual film.
The most common adverse event occurring during treatment induction and the 3 days following induction using SUBOXONE sublingual film was restlessness. Other adverse events were anxiety, piloerection, stomach discomfort, irritability, headache, rhinorrhea, cold sweat, arthralgia, and lacrimation increased.
Four subjects left the study early on the first day of sublingual film administration. However, there was not evidence to suggest that any of the four subjects experienced precipitated withdrawal secondary to the administration of buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual films.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of SUBOXONE sublingual film. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Suboxone (Buprenorphine HCl and naloxone HCl)
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