Suboxone Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

1. What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence. Suboxone contains contains buprenorphine hydrochloride, which works to reduce the symptoms of opiate dependence, as well as an additional ingredient called naloxone to guard against misuse.

2. What is the difference between Methadone and Suboxone in the treatment of opioid dependence?

Currently opiate dependence treatments like methadone can be dispensed only in a limited number of clinics that specialize in addiction treatment. There are not enough addiction treatment centers to help all patients seeking treatment. Suboxone is the first narcotic drug available under the Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 for the treatment of opiate dependence that can be prescribed in a doctor’s office. This change provides more patients the opportunity to access treatment.

3. What are some possible side effects of Suboxone?

(This is NOT a complete list of side effects reported with Suboxone. Refer to the package insert for a more complete list of side effects.)

The most common reported side effect of Suboxone include:

• cold or flu-like symptoms
• headaches
• sweating
• sleeping difficulties
• nausea
• mood swings.

Like other opioids Suboxone have been associated with respiratory depression (difficulty breathing) especially when combined with other depressants.

4. Are patients able to take home supplies of these medicines?

Yes. Suboxone is less tightly controlled than methadone because they have a lower potential for abuse and are less dangerous in an overdose. As patients progress on therapy, their doctor may write a prescription for a take-home supply of the medication.

5. How will FDA know if these drugs are being misused, and what can be done if they are?

FDA has worked with the manufacturer, Reckitt-Benckiser, and other agencies to develop an in-depth risk-management plan. FDA will receive quarterly reports from the comprehensive surveillance program. This should permit early detection of any problems. Regulations can be enacted for tighter control of buprenorphine treatment if it is clear that it is being widely diverted and misused.

6. Who can prescribe Suboxone?

Only qualified doctors with the necessary DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) identification number are able to start in-office treatment and provide prescriptions for ongoing medication. Drs Randhawa and Yang are both qualified prescribers.

7. How will Suboxone be supplied?

Supplied as sublingual (placed under the tongue to dissolve) tablets.

8. Where can patients get Suboxone?

These medications will be available in most commercial pharmacies. Drs Randhawa and Yang help patients locate pharmacies that can fill prescriptions for Suboxone.

9. Where can I go for more information?

• Go to the Subutex/Suboxone webpage
• Contact the CSAT Buprenorphine Information Center at 866-BUP-CSAT, or via email at info@buprenorphine.samhsa.gov or http://buprenorphine.samhsa.gov/

Subtex and Suboxone Questions and Answers. 06/13/2014. Retrieved from fda.gov

For more questions, please refer to our FAQ page.