What You Need to Know Before Taking Suboxone Pills

suboxone pills

Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States. In fact, between 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose.

If you’re currently struggling with an addiction to opioids, it’s important to know that there are resources out there that can help you. One of the most effective tools is Suboxone.

If you’re considering taking Suboxone pills, it’s important to know what to expect and how they might affect you.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Suboxone before deciding if it’s right for you.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug.

It is most often prescribed to individuals who are struggling with opioid addiction. It can be used by individuals who are addicted to prescription opioids like oxycodone or illicit opioids like heroin.

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is a type of drug known as a partial opioid agonist. A partial opioid agonist blocks the opiate receptors in the brain. This, in turn, helps to minimize the urge to consume opioids.

Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of opioids. It’s often administered to individuals who have overdosed on opioids.

Buprenorphine and naloxone work together to prevent withdrawal symptoms and make them easier to manage.

Benefits of Suboxone for Opioid Addiction

As you can see, Suboxone can be an effective tool for individuals who are addicted to opioids. Some other benefits of Suboxone for opioid addiction include:

  • Suboxone has less potential for abuse than other drugs meant to treat opioid addiction (such as methadone)
  • Suboxone is more accessible than other drugs (it can be prescribed in a doctor’s office instead of being dispensed at an addiction clinic)
  • It has a higher success rate of treating opioid dependence

Clearly, there are lots of benefits to taking suboxone pills. But, it’s not without side effects, either. 

What to Know Before Taking Suboxone Pills

As with any drug, Suboxone does have some potentially negative side effects. It can also be habit-forming, and individuals who consume it long-term may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using it.

Here are some important things you need to know about Suboxone before you decide to take it:

Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone comes with a number of side effects, both mild and severe.

Some of the mild side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Profuse sweating
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Redness in the mouth
  • Burning of the tongue

Other opioid withdrawal symptoms like body aches, a rapid heart rate, and abdominal cramps are common, too. 

There are also some uncommon, but very serious, side effects that can come with Suboxone use, including the following:

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hormonal problems like adrenal insufficiency
  • Liver damage
  • Coma

Suboxone also has the potential to be abused, especially when it is consumed long-term.

Suboxone Withdrawal

If an individual becomes dependent on Suboxone, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop taking it.

Some of the most common Suboxone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Severe anxiety
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Profuse sweating
  • Drug cravings

Many of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone are associated with withdrawal from other drugs.

People are more likely to become dependent on Suboxone if they have a history of narcotic abuse or have been addicted to heroin.

Suboxone Interactions

Suboxone can also interact negatively with other medications, including the following drugs:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Antihistamines
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins)
  • Fluoxetine
  • Niacin
  • Oral contraceptives
  • HIV-treatment drugs
  • Verapamil

If you’re taking any of these drugs, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking Suboxone. You may need to discontinue them or switch to a different medication.

How to Use Suboxone

If you do decide to use Suboxone, you will need to get a prescription for it from a doctor. You can also get a prescription if you stay in a medical detox center.

You can get a prescription for Suboxone pills or Suboxone film. Suboxone pills are swallowed just like any other pill, but Suboxone film is placed under the tongue and dissolved. 

Both forms of Suboxone are viable options for individuals struggling with opioid withdrawal. If you have a hard time swallowing pills, though, the film might be a better choice.

Over time, your doctor should decrease the dosage of Suboxone prescribed to you. This will help you wean off the medication and avoid becoming too dependent on it.

What to Expect from Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone is most effective when it’s used alongside other treatment options.

For example, it’s best to take Suboxone while also working with a therapist or receiving treatment in a detox center or rehabilitation facility.

It’s also important to understand the typical Suboxone treatment plan before you decide if it’s right for you. A typical treatment plan looks something like this:

  • Induction phase: During this phase, which lasts a couple of days, you’ll consume a 2-4 milligram dose; your doctor may also slowly increase your dose up to 8 milligrams.
  • Maintenance phase: After the induction phase, your doctor will gradually increase or decrease your dosage depending on how you’re responding to the treatment.
  • Honeymoon phase: About two weeks after you begin treatment, you’ll likely begin to feel much better — possibly even like your old self again.

At this point, you’ll continue taking your Suboxone as prescribed. You should also continue attending counseling sessions or support group meetings. You’ll be doing better, but you’re not fully cured yet, either.

Your doctor might begin or continue to decrease your dosage to help you start weaning off the drug. Some people take Suboxone for several months before they can fully give it up.

Find a Detox Center Today

Suboxone pills can be a very helpful tool for individuals who are trying to overcome opioid addiction. But, if you are going to take Suboxone, it’s best to take it in a supervised detox center. 

Do you live in or around the Stuart, Florida area? If so, consider staying with us at Coastal Detox. 

Coastal Detox is an award-winning detox center that specializes in helping individuals overcome drug and alcohol addiction with a combination of holistic therapies and medication-assisted treatments.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or to take a tour of our facility.

Article Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.