Long-Term Use of Suboxone

Some people who might require medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during recovery from opioid addiction might wonder about the safety and efficacy of long-term use of Suboxone, or other medications used in MAT.

This article will explain what Suboxone is, what it’s used for, and the effects of long-term use.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication that is used to help people who are struggling with opioid addiction. It has both buprenorphine and naloxone in it.1 Suboxone is the name of one product that has buprenorphine in it, and Suboxone has naloxone in it as well.1 Buprenorphine is able to decrease cravings as well as decrease opioid withdrawal.2

Buprenorphine, one of the components of Suboxone, attaches to mu-opioid receptors and is a partial agonist.1,2,3 The potential for buprenorphine misuse is lowered by having naloxone with buprenorphine, but misuse still is possible.2

If it is still contributing to intended treatment objectives and it is still beneficial for individuals, they ought to keep receiving treatment with Suboxone; there is a link between longer duration of treatment with buprenorphine and positive treatment results.1,2

Medication-Assisted Treatment Using Suboxone

Medicines as well as behavioral therapy are used in the treatment of substance use disorders in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).4 Medicine options for treating opioid use disorder include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.2

Medication-assisted treatment is just one tool to help individuals who are struggling with addiction to opioids. It can help by managing or negating the symptoms of withdrawal, decreasing the risk of relapse, and reducing the risk of infectious disease transmission.

Side Effects of Suboxone

The use of Suboxone may produce side effects.1 Some more common effects include:

  • Heartbeat that is not regular.
  • Headache.
  • Being drowsy.
  • Constipation.
  • Nauseousness.
  • Throwing up.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Tongue swelling.
  • Being dizzy.

Though rare, serious side effects have been reported. These include:1

  • Allergic reaction.
  • Blood pressure going down.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Issues with liver.
  • Being drowsy.
  • Opioid withdrawal.
  • Dependence.

Overdosing is possible, and someone who overdoses on Suboxone might have respiratory depression, be sedated, have small pupils, have low blood pressure, and/or die.1

Using CNS depressants along with buprenorphine raises the risk of issues including overdose as well as death; two examples of CNS depressants are alcohol and benzodiazepines.1 Individuals taking buprenorphine should get guidance from a medical provider before taking any other medicines and should not consume alcohol or use illegal drugs.3

Suboxone Misuse

It was estimated that in 2018, of individuals 12 years old and older who had used any buprenorphine product at all in the last year, 28.3% had misused a buprenorphine product in the last year.6 While there is a risk of misuse, Suboxone is safe and effect for individuals who take it during treatment for opioid addiction, under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Opioid Dependence and Opioid Withdrawal

An individual who takes buprenorphine long-term can become dependent on opioids.1,2

  • Suboxone can be utilized to treat someone’s opioid dependence.1 These individuals are obviously already dependent on opioids.
  • Buprenorphine might be given to someone who has had an opioid use disorder but presently does not have opioid dependence.2
  • An individual could misuse buprenorphine, and it could be an individual not already dependent on opioids.3

If buprenorphine is suddenly stopped or the dose is quickly reduced, withdrawal can happen.1 Some possible opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms include:1,2

  • Yawning.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Runny nose.
  • Nauseousness.
  • Throwing up.
  • Being restless.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Sweating.
  • Fever.
  • Diarrhea.
  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Pain.

Because of lessened opioid tolerance, there is a higher risk of overdose in individuals who have gone through opioid withdrawal.5 Opioid overdoses are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.2

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid use disorder, there is effective treatment that can help. The specialists at Greenhouse Treatment use evidence-based addiction-focused healthcare to get people on the road to recovery from addiction.

Contact our admissions navigators 24/7 at to learn about the different levels of care that we offer at our inpatient drug rehab near Dallas. They can answer your questions about your the rehab admissions process, ways to pay for rehab, using your insurance for treatment, and help you make travel arrangements to our center.

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