Suboxone has been shown to be safe, even in elderly patients and those with cancer or kidney impairment. Though, as with any medication, side effects have been reported. ⓘ
The Most Common Side Effects of Suboxone
Other Common Side Effects of Suboxone
Do Suboxone Side Effects Go Away?
Yes, most side effects from Suboxone become less pronounced or go away completely as the body adjusts to the medication. Any lingering Suboxone side effects can be treated with lifestyle changes, dosage changes or medications as discussed below.
Patients should feel good when taking Suboxone and want to continue on the medication. If this is not the case, speak to your Suboxone doctor. The side effects can be resolved.
Can Suboxone Cause Constipation?
Constipation is the most commonly reported side effect of Suboxone. However, constipation symptoms should actually be improved compared to illicit opioid use. ⓘ
Why Does Suboxone Cause Constipation?
Suboxone is a depressant, which means it slows down the body’s processes. Suboxone can slow down the movement of the digestive system, which leads to constipation. Some people may be more sensitive to this than others. Diet also plays a role.
How Can I Stop Constipation From Suboxone?
Eat A Diet That Is High In Fiber
Examples of high-fiber foods include whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and popcorn. Check labels to get 30-38 grams of fiber for men and 21-25 grams for women.
High Fiber Foods Options
Avoid Foods That Cause Constipation
Limit or avoid dairy products, processed foods and fried foods.
Drink Lots Of Water
Aim for at least 8-10 cups of water per day.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day.
Laxatives like polyethylene glycol (Miralax), docusate (Colace) and sennosides (Senna) can help. There are also stronger medications your Suboxone doctor can provide if the over-the-counter options and the diet changes aren’t working.
Suboxone Sleep Issues
Can Suboxone Make You Sleepy?
Sleep issues, daytime sleepiness and excessive yawning are the second most commonly reported side effects of Suboxone.
Adding to the impact, healthy routines are often lost during opioid addiction. Getting back to healthy habits and normal sleep schedules takes time and discipline.
Why Does Suboxone Make You Tired?
Like opioids, Suboxone is a depressant medication. It slows down (depresses) the body, which can cause a sedative (sleepy) effect.
How Can I Stop Sleepiness From Suboxone?
Creating good sleep habits leads to good sleep, which eliminates daytime sleepiness. Most patients already know the best sleep advice. So, it’s more about prioritizing and making the effort to get good sleep.
Get more specific tips for good sleep habits here: Opioid Insomnia
Does Suboxone Affect Your Teeth?
Tooth problems (including cavities, infections and losing teeth) have been cited by the FDA even in Suboxone patients who have not had dental problems before. However, dental issues while on Suboxone are preventable. ⓘ
Why Does Suboxone Cause Teeth Issues?
Suboxone strips are acidic and rest near the teeth while absorbing. In addition, Suboxone has been known to cause dry mouth, and a consistently dry mouth increases the risk of dental issues.
However, there is debate whether teeth-related issues are directly caused by Suboxone or by poor diet and lack of dental care.
How Can I Protect My Teeth From Suboxone?
Following simple oral hygiene while taking Suboxone can prevent any oral side effects.
How Long Should I Wait To Brush My Teeth After Subxoone?
Wait at least one hour after taking Suboxone before bruising your teeth. But, you can rinse your mouth with water after the Suboxone dissolves.
Suboxone Nausea & Vomiting
Can Suboxone Cause Nausea?
Yes, Suboxone can cause nausea and vomiting for some patients, especially when first starting the treatment or when the dosage is adjusted.
Why Does Suboxone Make Me Throw Up?
Opioids, including the partial opioid Suboxone, can slow movement in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and also can stimulate the chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) in the brain. Both of these effects can lead to nausea or vomiting for some patients. Some patients are more sensitive to these effects and the effects of medications in general.
Severe nausea and vomiting when starting Suboxone could be from precipitated withdrawals caused by taking the Suboxone too soon after opioid use.
Nausea and vomiting can also be caused by opioid withdrawals, especially if it happens right before the next dose or with a missed dose.
How To Get Rid Of Nausea From Suboxone?
Lower Or Split The Dose
Nausea or vomiting can be a sign that the Suboxone dose is too high. You and your Suboxone doctor can consider lowering the dose or split dosing. Split dosing is where the same daily dose is given, but the medication is taken twice throughout the day instead of once, so the body is processing half at a time.
Eat Before Taking Suboxone
Having food in your stomach can reduce nausea when taking medications.
Dissolve The Film Slowly
Try to avoid swallowing or drinking until the Suboxone film or tablet is fully dissolved. Stay conscious of the medication fully dissolving.
Consider Nausea Medications
Your Suboxone doctor will likely consider the prescription medication Ondansetron (Zofran) if the above recommendations don’t work.
How To Stop Throwing Up From Suboxone?
If the vomiting is caused by precipitated withdrawals or continued use of opioids, opioid use should be stopped and patients should wait to take Suboxone until feeling moderate opiate withdrawal symptoms.
For patients that experience prolonged intense vomiting, other medications like Vivitrol (naltrexone) could be a better fit.
Does Suboxone Make You Sweat?
Yes, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a known side effect reported by some patients who take Suboxone.
Why Does Suboxone Make Me Sweat?
The cause of the sweating isn’t entirely clear. Suboxone interacts with the hypothalamus which controls autonomic functions like regulating body temperature. Alternatively, the release of histamine, which can cause skin flushing and itching, may also cause sweating in some patients.
How To Stop Excessive Sweating From Suboxone?
Suboxone Dosage Changes
As with all side effects, decreasing the dose could help curb sweating, pending cravings are still well controlled.
Over-the-counter or prescription-strength antiperspirants might stop extra sweating from being an issue.
Drinking plenty of water helps compensate for the fluids lost through sweating.
Alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods are known to increase sweating in some people. Reducing or eliminating these might help in managing excessive sweating.
Using fans, wearing light and breathable clothing and staying in cooler environments should also help.
Medications for Sweating
Several prescription meditations can be used off-label to help with sweating, including Oxybutin and desloratadine.
Does Suboxone Cause Headaches?
Headaches are a common side effect of many medications, including Suboxone, especially when starting or changing doses. Often, Suboxone headaches are manageable and temporary.
Why Does Suboxone Give Me A Headache?
Suboxone acts on receptors in the brain, and any medication that targets the brain can have a side effect of headaches for some patients.
The exact reason Suboxone causes headaches may differ between patients. For example, if the headache occurs before taking the daily dose of Suboxone, the headache is likely a withdrawal symptom. Dehydration can also be a cause of headaches for some patients taking Suboxone.
How To Stop Headaches From Suboxone?
Suboxone headaches are often mild and short-lived. These headaches may be managed by:
Severe, persistent or worsening headaches should be discussed with your Suboxone doctor.
Sometimes the Naloxone component of Suboxone can contribute to headaches. Your Suboxone provider may try switching to a buprenorphine-only formulation to see if the headaches resolve (ie. Buprenorphine Mono or Subutx).
Dose reductions also can improve headaches, if possible.
Can Suboxone Make You Dizzy?
Dizziness is one of the more common side effects associated with Suboxone use.
Dizziness is usually worse when first starting the medication, when the dose is increased or if it’s taken with other substances that depress the central nervous system like alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Does Suboxone Lower Blood Pressure?
Suboxone can cause blood vessels to widen slightly (vasodilation), which might lead to a decrease in blood pressure for some patients. If blood pressure gets too low, it can cause dizziness or lightheadedness.
Suboxone Mental Side Effects
What Does Suboxone Do To You Mentally?
The main function of Suboxone is to stabilize the opioid receptors in the brain to reduce cravings. Patients generally report improvement in mood, depression and anxiety.
If mental health gets worse while starting Suboxone, it could stem from the broader recovery process or the undercovering of a pre-existing issue that was masked or self-medicated by opioid use. Suboxone is much more effective when combined with mental health counseling anyway.
Can Suboxone Cause Mood Swings?
Suboxone is not known to cause mood swings, but early recovery with or without medications often causes mood swings.
There are many reasons why patients in early recovery often experience mood swings, including:
How Does Suboxone Affect Depression?
Suboxone can be an especially helpful medication for patients who also struggle with depression. Studies show Suboxone has an antidepressant-like side effect. ⓘ
If depressive symptoms persist after stabilizing on Suboxone, SSRI medications like Sertraline (Zoloft) or citalopram (Celexa) or SNRIs like bupropion (Wellbutrin) can be used safely with Suboxone. ⓘ
Does Suboxone Make You Sad?
No. Suboxone generally makes reactions to bad feelings less strong.
Does Suboxone Help Anxiety?
Around 17-30% of people who struggle with opioids also struggle with anxiety. And, the research is clear that Suboxone helps with anxiety. ⓘ
As clearly stated in one randomized, double‑blind study:“A single dose of Suboxone provides a rapid and sustained improvement for generalized anxiety disorder in opioid-dependent patients.” ⓘ
How Does Suboxone Affect Personality?
Patients on Suboxone can become more stable and reliable. They tend to be more emotionally available when not constantly distracted by cravings, opioid use or withdrawals. This can make them seem more engaged, responsive or sensitive.
Personality traits that were caused by drug-seeking behaviors (like being manipulative, secretive, selfish or impulsive) shift back to the patient’s “original” personality prior to opioid use.
Can Suboxone Cause Psychosis Or Hallucinations?
In the history of medical literature, there have been a couple of one-off reports of hallucinations experienced by patients when abruptly stopping Suboxone. All have a previous history of psychosis episodes. ⓘ ⓘ
If you’re experiencing hallucinations or psychosis while taking Suboxone, talk to your Suboxone doctor or see a psychiatrist right away. Hallucinations are not a normal Suboxone side effect. There is likely something else going on.
Suboxone Side Effect Myths
While weight loss is not listed as a direct side effect of Suboxone, patients have reported changes in weight—both weight loss and weight gain. Most weight changes stem from changes in lifestyle that are made when starting Suboxone and ending opioid use. Changes in weight are reported at the same rate by patients that are not using medications in early recovery.
Hair thinning or loss is not a reported side effect of Suboxone. It could stem from the stress of early recovery or past nutritional deficiencies.
Erectile dysfunction can be a common effect of heroin addiction. However, Suboxone actually seems to help. After taking Suboxone for three months, the research shows men improve both erectile function and sexual desire. ⓘ
Factors like depression, older age and lower testosterone are more likely the cause of sexual or erectile issues, which can be treated by a urologist or even a primary care physician. ⓘ
The research shows no evidence Suboxone causes liver damage, even when taken long-term. Suboxone is often prescribed for patients with liver issues including hepatitis, though liver enzymes levels should be monitored in these cases. ⓘ
Suboxone is not known to cause heart problems. Research shows patients with a history of heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) maintain a stable heart rate and heart health after taking Suboxone. ⓘ
Suboxone may cause a slight decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, especially during dosing. However, changes in heart rate does not equal heart damage. Meditation or exercise also cause changes in heart rate and blood pressure and do not cause heart problems.
Allergic reactions to Suboxone are very rare. Signs of an allergic reaction to Suboxone include hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
Hives are raised, red bumps. Sometimes this is confused with flushing of the face, which is a harmless side effect.
Suboxone Rash / Flushing (Normal) vs. Raised Allergic Hives
If these symptoms occur, Suboxone should be stopped immediately. Epinephrine (an epi-pen), oxygen, antihistamines and corticosteroids all are used in treating allergic reactions. Different medications like methadone or Vivitrol can help with cravings if allergic to Suboxone.
1. Precipated Withdrwals
Suboxone can make you sick if taken too early after opioid use, called precipitated withdrawals. Precipitated withdrawal will resolve itself within a few days and will not happen again when taking Suboxone unless the medication is again taken before opioid withdrawal symptoms start.
2. Side Effects
Like all medications, Suboxone also can have side effects. Suboxone side effects are generally mild and most can be reduced altogether with lifestyle changes, dose changes or medications.
3. Allergic Reactions
Very rarely, Suboxone can cause allergic reactions. If the sickness from Suboxone is an allergic reaction, Suboxone should not be taken again. Methadone or Vivitrol are different medications that can be tried instead to control cravings.
4. Withdrawal Symptoms
Skipping doses or stopping Suboxone cold-turkey may cause sickness from withdrawal. Suboxone withdrawal leads to similar symptoms as opioid withdrawal, but more mild. A Suboxone taper can prevent withdrawal sickness.