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What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is an opioid medication made up of a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It helps treat opiate (narcotic) addiction and not for use as a pain medication.
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How to take Suboxone?
Take Suboxone precisely as per your doctor’s prescription. Read carefully and follow all the directions on the medication guides or instruction sheets. Never take Suboxone in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Contact the doctor if you feel an increased urge to use this medicine.
It would help if you placed Suboxone sublingual tablets under the tongue until they dissolve. While the film is dissolving, do not swallow or chew the film because the medicine will not work effectively.
If you plan to switch between drugs containing buprenorphine, you may not use a similar dose for each one.
Do not suddenly stop using Suboxone, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take your doctor’s help to stop using this medicine safely.
To check your liver function, you will need frequent blood tests.
All you medical healthcare providers should know that your opioid addiction treatment is going on and that you take Suboxone.
Never break or crush a Suboxone sublingual pill to inhale the powder or add it into a liquid for injection into your vein. This practice causes death.
Store Suboxone away from heat and moisture at room temperature.
Store the Suboxone films in the foil pouch. Discard an empty bag of leftover drugs away from children and pets.
Keep track of your drug. Be aware if anyone is misusing it or taking it without a prescription. Do not keep leftover opioid medicine. Just one accidental or improper use can cause death.
What to know before taking Suboxone?
Suboxone can slow down or stop your breathing and may become a habit-forming drug. Misuse of opioid medications like Suboxone can cause overdose, addiction, or death, especially in a child or someone taking it without a prescription.
Taking this drug during the pregnancy period may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Using this medicine with alcohol can cause fatal side effects. Avoid taking it with other drugs that can cause drowsiness or slow breathing.
You should avoid taking Suboxone if you are allergic to it or buprenorphine or naloxone. To ensure Suboxone is safe for you, tell your medical healthcare provider if you have ever had:
- Alcoholism or drug addiction;
- Brain tumor, a head injury, or seizures;
- Sleep apnea, breathing problems;
- Enlarged prostate, urination problems;
- Abnormal spine curvature that affects breathing;
- Kidney or liver disease; or
- Problems with your adrenal gland, gallbladder, or thyroid
Consult your doctor before taking Suboxone during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
What are the benefits of using Suboxone?
Suboxone is helpful for the treatment of narcotic (opiate) addiction. It is FDA-approved to treat opioid dependence. It helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms that can occur when an opioid is stopped or reduced.
Sometimes it is used to help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms as part of a detoxification program. Detoxification programs are generally short-term used to weaken people off drugs, such as opioids or alcohol.
It may also prove helpful off-label for other conditions such as treating pain and depression. However, it is advised not to take it without prescription and doctor’s advice because it has its side effects.
What are the side effects of Suboxone?
Go for emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Suboxone. Allergic reaction signs include difficulty breathing; hives; swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Suboxone (buprenorphine) can slow down or stop your breathing and cause death. An attendant or a person taking care of you should seek medical attention if you have blue-colored lips, slow breathing with long pauses, or if you are hard to wake up.
Seek emergency medical attention or call your medical healthcare provider if you have:
- Feeling lightheaded, like you might pass out;
- Shallow or weak breathing that may stop during sleep;
- Slurred speech, blurred vision;
- Loss of coordination, confusion, extreme weakness;
- High serotonin levels in the body- hallucinations, agitation, sweating, fever, fast heart rate, shivering, twitching, muscle stiffness, nausea, loss of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting;
- Liver problems- loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, clay-colored stools, dark urine, jaundice;
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms- goosebumps, shivering, feeling hot or cold, increased sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, muscle pain, diarrhea; or
- Low cortisol levels- vomiting, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, worsening weakness or tiredness.
Common side effects to Suboxone may include:
- Withdrawal symptoms;
- Sleep problems (insomnia);
- Increased sweating, fast or pounding heartbeats;
- Back pain, headache;
- Nausea, constipation, vomiting;
- Tongue pain, numbness, or redness inside the mouth; or
- Drowsiness, dizziness, feeling drunk, blurred vision, trouble concentrating
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Take your doctor’s medical advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
How does Suboxone work?
Buprenorphine consists of the same effects as opioid drugs, but it also blocks other effects of opioids. Due to this unique effect, it is called opioid partial agonist-antagonist. It helps treat opioid drug dependence, its withdrawal symptoms, and drug cravings. It is less likely to cause a high than an opioid.
Naloxone includes solely to help prevent abuse of the medication. It blocks the effects of opioid drugs.
Do not inject Suboxone if you are dependent upon opioids because the naloxone present in Suboxone will block the effects of opioids and put you into immediate withdrawal.
However, this withdrawal is less likely to happen in the case of suboxone film. The film releases less naloxone in your body as compared to the injection.
What to avoid while using Suboxone?
Avoid consumption of alcohol. It may lead to dangerous side effects.
Avoid driving any vehicle or operating any heavy machinery until you know this medicine’s effect on you. Severe drowsiness or dizziness can cause accidents, falls, or severe injuries.