How to take Suboxone Tablets

March 14, 2023

Suboxone tablets are composed of two medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, and are prescribed to treat opiate use disorder. The tablets are placed sublingually (under the tongue) or buccally (in the cheek) so that they can be absorbed through the mucus membrane, bypassing the stomach acid. 

The most common Suboxone tablets dose is 8 mg, but smaller doses are available—even though all tablets are the same physical size. They should be stored in a cool, dry place, although refrigeration is not necessary. 

To avoid getting an upset stomach, have a small snack 15 to 30 minutes before taking your medication, but make sure your mouth is empty. Take a swallow of water to wet your mouth and place the tablet either under your tongue or against your cheek. Do not chew, suck, or swallow the tablet, or talk while it is in your mouth. The tablet will generally dissolve in about 5 minutes or less. Some patients find the flavor unpalatable, but fortunately most learn to tolerate it. Brush your teeth to avoid cavities. 

The effects of the medication starts after about 10 to 30 minutes. Wait 30 or more minutes before eating, so that the Suboxone will be able to have its full effect, unhindered by any circulating nutrients. 

As is true of any medication, Suboxone can show side effects in some patients. These may include:

  • Nausea is common with the first dose, and generally goes away with continued use.
  • Euphoria is sometimes seen, and can last a few minutes to a few hours.
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tongue pain
  • Mouth numbness
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation

While taking Suboxone do not drink alcohol and avoid any benzodiazepine, since the combination can depress your brain’s respiratory center, causing a dangerous slowing of your breathing. Herbal teas and other medications can interact with Suboxone, so report any herbal preparations you are taking to your physician.

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