Suboxone Side Effects
Suboxone is very well tolerated by the vast majority of patients. Some people may experience some minor side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Urinary retention
- Dizziness and others
The risks of overdose are low, but as it is an opiate it can cause respiratory depression when taken to excess, and can be quite dangerous if taken in conjunction with alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or any other form of CNS depressant medication.
In very rare occasions, patients have reported a hypersensitivity to the naloxone in the medication. The naloxone, which normally if the medication is taken as directed has no effect, in these patients with a hypersensitivity does cause a reaction, and does induce a severe period of withdrawal. This is very rare.
It is quite easy to transition off of short acting opiates of abuse such as heroin, hydrocodone or OxyContin onto Suboxone, but it can be quite difficult to transition from longer acting opiates such as methadone. Patients addicted to methadone and wanting to switch to Suboxone will generally transition between the two medications via a period on a drug such as OxyContin.
Because of the easier withdrawal period and because it can be taken home in month long doses, most people prefer the idea of Suboxone therapy over methadone therapy. Unfortunately, Suboxone won’t work for everyone.
Suboxone has a dosage ceiling, or a limit of maximum effects, and for some people, such as heavy daily heroin users, Suboxone just isn’t strong enough to take away all withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. In such cases, methadone is clearly the better choice.
In America, the two greatest problems regarding the use of Suboxone are availability and cost.
Doctor's must receive special certification before achieving licensing to prescribe the drug, and there are simply not enough doctors who may give it. Additionally, current legislation caps the numbers of patients each doctor may prescribe Suboxone to, further compounding the problem.
Secondly, the drug remains quite expensive, and for those without adequate private health insurance or without the means to self finance the drug, it can be prohibitively expensive.
Page last updated Jun 09, 2011