SUBOXONE (Buprenorphine/Naloxone Sublingual Tablets)
SUBUTEX (Buprenorphine 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.
Buprenorphine Illicit Uses
(Trade Names: Buprenex®, Suboxone®, Subutex®)
Like other opioids commonly abused, buprenorphine is capable of producing significant euphoria. Data from other countries indicate that buprenorphine has been abused by various routes of administration (sublingual, intranasal and injection) and has gained popularity as a heroin substitute and as a primary drug of abuse. Large percentages of the drug abusing populations in some areas of France, Ireland, Scotland, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and New Zealand have reported abusing buprenorphine by injection and in combination with a benzodiazepine. The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is a DEA database that collects scientifically verified data on drug items and cases submitted to and analyzed by state and local forensic laboratories. The System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) provides information on drug seizures reported to and analyzed by DEA laboratories. In 2010, federal, state and local laboratories identified 7,786 exhibits as buprenorphine; five times the number of buprenorphine exhibits (1,291) identified in 2006.
According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (New DAWN ED), an estimated 14,266 emergency room visits were associated with buprenorphine misuse in 2009, more than three times the 4,440 estimated number of buprenorphine visits in 2006.
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 your healthcare providers 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 your healthcare provider.
- Tell your 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 your 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 level.
- 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.
- 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 you agree that you have been given informed consent about suboxone and subutex and how it will be used for your 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 several weeks and into a recovery based way of life. Palm Beach Outpatient Detox serves areas which include Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Martin and St. Lucie Counties in the South Florida area.