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What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a medicine that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication popularly known as a narcotic. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioid medications, including pain relief or feelings of well-being, leading to opioid abuse. It comes as an oral film taking place under your tongue or between your gums and cheek. The film dissolves in your mouth.
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.
One can use it 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.
Suboxone can slow or stop your breathing, and you may form a habit of its consumption. Misuse of this medicine may lead to addiction, overdose, or death, primarily if a child or other person uses it without a prescription.
Do not consume this medicine with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness or slow your breathing because that can cause fatal effects.
What to know before taking Suboxone?
You should not take Suboxone if you are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone. Please inform your doctor if you ever had:
- Breathing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Enlarged prostate
- Urination problem
- Liver or kidney disease
- Abnormal curvature of the spine
- Problem with the gallbladder, adrenal gland, or thyroid;
- Head injury, brain tumor, or seizures
- Alcoholism, drug addiction
- Mental illness
The interaction of some medicines with buprenorphine and naloxone can cause a severe condition known as serotonin syndrome. Make your doctor aware of your medicines’ intake, whether stimulant medicine, herbal products, or medicine for mental illness.
Ask your doctor before taking any medication changes related to Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or nausea and vomiting.
Your baby could become dependent on the drug if you take Suboxone while you are pregnant. It can cause a life-threatening withdrawal effect in the baby after delivery. The baby may need medical treatment for several weeks if they deliver on such habit-forming medicines.
You must not take this medicine during pregnancy as it may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. The elements of this medicine can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness or breathing problems in the nursing baby.
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. Ensure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Only your doctor can prescribe the best dosage to suit your needs.
The usage of Suboxone prescribed by your doctor depends upon the following factors:
- Your age
- Type and severity of opioid dependence
- The stage of your medical treatment
- Your other medical conditions
Typically, your doctor will begin by putting you on a low dosage and later upgrade it to reach the proper dosage. Ultimately they will prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
Treatment of opioid dependence occurs in two phases: induction and maintenance.
During the induction phase, the doctor gives you Suboxone oral film under your tongue. Please do not use it inside your cheek as it may cause withdrawal symptoms.
After evaluating your condition in the induction phase, your treatment will continue on your needs and goals. If you continue to use opioids during the maintenance phase or misuse Suboxone, your doctor may recommend a different treatment program.
Suboxone is also available as a generic medicine, and this form includes a sublingual film and a sublingual tablet. Maximum dosage: maximum daily dosage during the maintenance phase is 32 mg buprenorphine / 8 mg naloxone.
If you overdose on Suboxone, take instant medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. An opioid overdose can be dangerous and deadly, especially in children or someone taking it without a prescription.
Overdose symptoms to Suboxone may include pinpoint pupils, severe drowsiness, slow or no breathing.
What to avoid while using Suboxone?
Do not consume alcohol because it can cause dangerous side effects or death.
Avoid driving any vehicle or operating heavy machinery until you know how this drug will affect you. Severe drowsiness or dizziness can cause accidental falls or severe injuries.
Suboxone side effects
Take medical help if you have an allergic reaction due to the use of Suboxone. Signs of an allergic reaction to Suboxone may include trouble breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Call your medical healthcare professional immediately if you have any of the following severe side effects:
- Slurred speech, blurred vision;
- Extreme weakness, confusion, loss of coordination;
- Feeling light-headed;
- weak or shallow breathing;
- Breathing that stops during sleep;
- Low cortisol levels;
- Liver problems;
- High serotonin levels; or
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms
Common side effects to Suboxone may include:
- Sleep problems;
- Increased sweating;
- Fast or pounding heartbeats;
- Nausea, constipation, vomiting;
- Headache, back pain;
- Withdrawal symptoms;
- Tongue pain, numbness, or redness inside your mouth; or
- Drowsiness, dizziness, feeling drunk, blurred vision, trouble concentrating
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Consult your doctor regarding side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Suboxone?
Various drugs may interact with Suboxone and cause deadly side effects. Ensure that your doctor knows if you use any medicine for cold or allergy, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, motion sickness, irritable bowel syndrome, other opioids, a sedative-like valium, drugs that cause sleepiness, or any medicine that affect the serotonin level in your body.
It is not a complete list of drugs that may interact with Suboxone. Other medications may also interact with it, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, or vitamins.