What is Buprenorphine?

SUBUTEX (Buprenorphine Sublingual Tablets)
SUBOXONE (Buprenorphine/Naloxone Sublingual Tablets)
U.S. Brand Names Subutex® and Suboxone
Pharmacologic Category Narcotic Agonist/Antagonist

What key warnings should I know about before taking this medicine?

Subutex® and Suboxone are only used to treat drug addiction.

Reasons not to take this medicine:

  • Do not give the tablets to a child younger than 16 years of age.
  • If you have an allergy to buprenorphine or naloxone or any other part of this medicine.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • If you are breast-feeding.

What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used to treat opiate drug addiction. Opiates include many pain medications that are codeine and morphine derivatives and heroin.

How does it work?

  • Buprenorphine binds to areas in the brain to decrease cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • It binds to brain receptors, relieving pain. It decreases the feeling of pain and a person’s response to pain.
  • It is important to take this medication only when you are experiencing obvious withdrawal symptoms. Your nurse will assist you with this process. Please wait as long as you can before starting this medication in order to have the best results.  You may not experience the desired relief if this medication is taken too early.

How is it best taken?

  • Oral:   Sublingual tablet: Place under the tongue and let dissolve. Do NOT swallow.

What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Check medicines with healthcare provider. This medicine may not mix well with other medicines.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • You may not be alert. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor) or other medicines and natural products that slow your actions and reactions. These include sedatives, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers, antihistamines, and other pain medicine.
  • If you have gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, prostate, thyroid, or mental illness, talk with healthcare provider.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Do NOT share this medication with others – They may become ill from this medication.

What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred vision, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities that requires you to be alert or have clear vision until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Feeling dizzy. Rise slowly over several minutes from sitting or lying position. Be careful climbing.
  • Headache. Mild pain medicine may help.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Constipation. More liquids, regular exercise, or a fiber-containing diet may help. Talk with healthcare provider about a stool softener or laxative.

What should I monitor?

  • Change in condition being treated. Is it better, worse, or about the same?
  • Keep a diary of pain control.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.

Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately:

  • If you suspect an overdose, call your local poison control center immediately or dial 911.
  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Severe dizziness or passing out.
  • Difficulty breathing, Excessive perspiration, Fast heartbeat, Poor pain control, Significant change in thinking clearly and logically, Severe nausea or vomiting, Severe constipation, Severe diarrhea.
  • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Feeling extremely tired or weak.
  • Any rash.
  • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.

How should I store this medicine?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect tablets from moisture. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.

General Statements:

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else’s medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, natural products, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter, natural products, or vitamins.

Disclaimer We want you to get the most benefit you can from your medicine. This two page informed consent is a summary of useful information to help you understand and take it safely. Other information about this medicine may be important for you to know. Please talk with Dr. Scanlan concerning how subutex/suboxone will be most effective and safest for you.  By signing this statement I agree that I have been given informed consent about suboxone and subutex and how it will be used for my treatment.

Palm Beach Outpatient Detox, offers outpatient detoxification treatments for opiates, alcohol and benzodiazepines in a comfortable office setting that is both affordable and allows clients to continue to work and be at home with their families. For many individuals this offers a way of easing back into daily living over a several weeks and into a recovery based way of life. Palm Beach Outpatient Detox covers areas which include Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Martin and St. Lucie Counties in the South Florida area.