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Suboxone FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

This is where you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about Suboxone. 


Intro to Suboxone

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name prescription drug that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction.

What effect does Suboxone have?

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it produces relatively weak opioid effects. This helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the full effects of other opioids – such as heroin, oxycodone, or methadone.

What are the common uses of Suboxone?

Suboxone is generally used in two ways: as an FDA-approved drug to treat opioid dependence as part of a comprehensive outpatient program (what IHAT does); and with inpatient detoxification programs. It is not approved to treat pain or depression but some studies have shown that patients treated with buprenorphine have exhibited some improvements in both.

Suboxone Side Effects

What are the common side effects of Suboxone?

According to the manufacturer, some common side effects of Suboxone may include nausea and vomiting, headache, sweating, constipation, numbness in the mouth, dizziness and fainting, concentration problems, insomnia, back pain, and drowsiness.

What side effects does a partial opioid agonist have?

As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone can cause respiratory depression – just like regular opioids. Respiratory depression is a condition where breathing becomes more shallow and slow, causing a lack of oxygen in the body. This is considered one of the more severe side effects of Suboxone, but is less common in lower doses and those under 60.

Are there behavioral or mental health side effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone may lead to nervousness, anxiety, or depression, and these effects should be monitored as they can potentially lead to an opioid relapse.

Phases of Treatment

What are the two primary phases of Suboxone treatment?

People going through opioid dependence are generally treated in two phases: induction and maintenance. Induction begins when the effects of other opioids have begun to wear off and withdrawal symptoms present themselves. Maintenance is when Suboxone is used at a stable dosage for an extended period.

How long does Suboxone treatment last?

While treatment may vary for each individual, generally it may last anywhere from a few months to a year, largely depending on the severity of opioid addiction as well as individual factors. 

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