Buprenorphine (Subutex) and buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone) are used to treat opioid dependence (addiction to opioid drugs, including heroin and narcotic painkillers). Buprenorphine is in a class of medications called opioid partial agonist-antagonists, and naloxone is in a class of medications called opioid antagonists. Buprenorphine alone and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone prevent withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking opioid drugs by producing similar effects to these drugs.
Buprenorphine and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone come as sublingual tablets to taken under the tongue. They are usually taken once a day. To help you remember to take buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You will start your treatment with buprenorphine, which you will take in the doctor's office. Your doctor will start you on a low dose of buprenorphine and will increase your dose for several days before switching you to buprenorphine and naloxone. Your doctor may increase or decrease your buprenorphine and naloxone dose until the medication works properly.
Place the tablets under your tongue until they melt. This should take 2 to 10 minutes. If you are taking more than two tablets, either place them all under your tongue at the same time or place them under your tongue 2 at a time. Do not chew the tablets or swallow them whole.
Do not stop taking buprenorphine and naloxone without talking to your doctor. Stopping buprenorphine and naloxone too quickly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor will tell you when and how to stop taking buprenorphine and naloxone.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Talk to your doctor about drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
difficulty breathing or swallowing
unusual bleeding or bruising
lack of energy
loss of appetite
pain in the upper right part of the stomach
yellowing of the skin or eyes
Buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone can be a target for people who abuse prescription medications or street drugs. Keep your medication in a safe place to protect from theft. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to buprenorphine and naloxone.
In case of an emergency, you or a family member should tell the treating doctor or emergency room staff that you are taking buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone.
Do not inject buprenorphine or buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual tablets. Severe reactions may happen, including withdrawal symptoms.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 11/15/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.