What is Suboxone?

1. What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of opiod use disorder. Suboxone is made up of two medications. The first is buprenorphine hydrochloride, which works to reduce the symptoms of opiod dependence. The second medication is called naloxone, which helps guard against misuse.

2. What is the difference between Methadone and Suboxone in the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder?

Currently Opiod Use Disorder treatments like methadone can be dispensed only in a limited number of clinics that specialize in addiction treatment. There are not enough addiction treatment centers to help all patients seeking treatment. Suboxone is the first narcotic drug available under the Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 for the treatment of Opiod Use Disorder that can be prescribed in a doctor’s office that has a special certification from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This change provides more patients the opportunity to access treatment.

3. What are some possible side effects of Suboxone?

NOTE: This is NOT a complete list of side effects reported with Suboxone. Refer to the package insert for a more complete list of side effects. Additionally, please ask for a handout in our office on your first appointment.

The most common reported side effect of Suboxone include:

  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • sleeping difficulties
  • nausea
  • mood swings.

Like other opioids, Suboxone has been associated with respiratory depression (difficulty breathing) especially when combined with other depressants.

4. Are patients able to take home supplies of these medicines?

Yes. Suboxone is regulated differently by the DEA than methadone. The reason for this is there is a lower potential for abuse. As patients progress on therapy, our doctors may write a prescription for a take-home supply of the medication.

5. How will the FDA know if these drugs are being misused?

FDA has worked with the manufacturer, Reckitt-Benckiser, and other agencies to develop an in-depth risk-management plan. FDA will receive quarterly reports from the comprehensive surveillance program. This should permit early detection of any problems. Regulations can be enacted for tighter control of buprenorphine treatment if it is clear that it is being widely diverted and misused.

6. Who can prescribe Suboxone?

Only qualified doctors with the necessary DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) identification number are able to start in-office treatment and provide prescriptions for ongoing medication. In addition to being a Board Certified physician, Dr. Greenspahn also carries this additional qualification.

7. How will Suboxone be taken?

Supplied as sublingual (placed under the tongue to dissolve) tablets or films.

8. Where can patients get Suboxone?

These medications will be available in most commercial pharmacies. Dr. Greenspahn can help patients locate pharmacies that can fill prescriptions for Suboxone.

9. Where can I go for more information?

Subtex and Suboxone Questions and Answers. 04/01/2016. Retrieved from fda.gov