Suboxone Side Effects


You may experience some side effects while taking Suboxone. Short-term side effects can begin within a few hours of taking the drug for the first time, while long-term effects may not occur until several weeks after the initial dose.

Always take Suboxone under professional supervision, and follow all your dosage directions exactly. Let your healthcare provider know about any uncomfortable side effects you encounter, and seek emergency care right away if you experience any serious medical issues.

Short-Term side effects

  • Headache
  • Mild to moderate opiate withdrawal symptoms
  • Pain, either generalized or specific to the abdominal area or the back
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth problems, including numbness, redness, pain or burning
  • Difficulty concentrating, confusion or sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Respiratory Depression

Suboxone contains an opioid drug, so it carries a risk of respiratory compromise. This risk increases if patients take Suboxone inappropriately or in combination with other drugs such as Ativan and Xanax.

Signs of respiratory depression include the following:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Lethargy or difficulty awakening
  • Blue tint to nail beds or lips

Respiratory compromise is a medical emergency, and it could lead to coma or death if untreated.

Serious allergic reaction

  • Swelling of the tongue, throat or lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives or skin rash

Severe withdrawal symptoms

  • Profuse sweating
  • Difficulty maintaining proper body temperature
  • Feeling shaky
  • Frequent vomiting and diarrhea
  • Generalized severe muscle aches

Additional serious side effects

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Extreme sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Movement or neurological impairments, such as balance and coordination problems
  • Constant severe dizziness or dizziness with standing
  • Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat
  • Changes in mental state or mood, including anxiety, depression and hallucinations

Long-Term side effects

Adrenal insufficiency

Taking Suboxone for more than a few weeks could inhibit the adrenal glands from producing normal levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate several body functions. Adrenal insufficiency can lead to a wide variety of symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Generalized weakness and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression

Liver damage

Patients with a history of pre-existing liver compromise such as hepatitis or previous drug abuse are at a higher risk for liver damage when taking Suboxone.

Signs of decreased liver function include the following:

  • Yellow tint in the skin and/or eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain

Drug dependence or abuse

Although Suboxone contains lower levels of opiates than heroin or methadone, there is still a risk that patients can abuse the drug or develop a dependence on it.

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