What is Suboxone®?

Written by Amanda Stevens, B.S. | Updated on Jan 31, 2023
Medically reviewed by Dr. Christopher Litchfield, MD
Resources » What is Suboxone®?

What is Suboxone®?

Addiction is a disease that slowly overtakes the lives, personalities, and souls of its victims. 

Part of the addiction crisis in the U.S is largely around opiates.

Because opioid pills are so addictive, scientists and medical professionals have developed a class of medications that help users avoid the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with quitting opioids. Some of these drugs either totally or partially block the opioid receptors in the brain [1].

Suboxone® is a brand name prescription drug used in such addiction problems. Suboxone® works by connecting with the opioid receptors in the brain, eliminating withdrawal symptoms and blocking the effects of other opioids, making it painful or unpleasant to take them, discouraging continued use.

What is Suboxone®?

What is the Pharmaceutical Name for Suboxone®?

Buprenorphine/naloxone is the same thing as Suboxone® and is considered the pharmaceutical name for Suboxone® [2]

Is Suboxone® a Controlled Substance?

Suboxone® is a narcotic, and falls under Schedule III controlled substances with a moderate risk of addiction. Despite this classification, Suboxone® is recognized for its medical benefits when treating addictions.

What are the Different Forms of Suboxone®?

An effective medication combination for treating adult opioid dependency is buprenorphine and naloxone. There are sublingual film and sublingual tablet dosage forms available.

Although generic buprenorphine/naloxone is also available in tablet form, Suboxone® normally comes in a film formulation. Both Suboxone® films, strips, and pills work well to treat opioid use disorder, including soothing cravings, easing withdrawal symptoms, and preventing overdoses. The strength of films and tablets is similar. 

Both tablets and pills are ultimately equally beneficial for rehabilitation. With consideration for your past medical history and what is covered by your insurance, you and your doctor will jointly decide which one is best for you.

Suboxone® Pills

Suboxone® comes in pill form and is typically characterized by their shape and color.

How Do You Take Suboxone® Pills?

The films or strips as well as the pills or tablets are made to be placed beneath the tongue until they dissolve.

Suboxone® Strips

Suboxone® in strip or film form is meant to be taken the same way as the pills — placed under the tongue until it dissolves.

How Do You Take Suboxone® Strips?

To take Suboxone® strips, you must place the film containing buprenorphine and naloxone beneath the tongue and hold it there until it dissolves completely , approximately 4 to 8 minutes. After placing the film beneath the tongue, do not swallow, chew, or move it because doing so will reduce the medication’s effectiveness.

Taking Suboxone®: What You Need to Know

Suboxone® is a safe and effective treatment when taken as prescribed. This is what you should know before taking this drug.

Why Did My Doctor Prescribe Me Suboxone®?

In response to the rampant opioid crisis, interventive medicine has saved the lives of people facing opioid addiction. A doctor will prescribe Suboxone® if they feel it is appropriate to aid in your recovery and work with your medical history.

Is Suboxone® Safe?

While Suboxone® is generally safe to take when used as directed under the supervision of a doctor, Suboxone® has the potential to be sold illegally as a narcotic [3]. There is a chance of reliance and abuse, much like with many prescription medications. It can result in significant withdrawal symptoms if taken. Combining Suboxone® with alcohol or other substances also increases the risk of adverse and undesirable effects.

How Long Do You Take Suboxone®?

Buprenorphine is an ingredient in the medication Suboxone® . A milder version of the effects of opioids are produced by buprenorphine, a partial agonist to them. Although it doesn’t offer the same high, it effectively tricks the brain into thinking that your opioid craving has been satisfied.

Suboxone® is a medication that typically requires long-term use to support opioid recovery. The length of time you take it depends on multiple factors, but ultimately comes down to the treatment plan you and your doctor come up with.

What is the Success Rate of Suboxone®?

Reports of Suboxone® success rates range from 40 to 60%. Retention rates in recovery programs and one-year post-treatment sobriety rates are used to calculate these figures.

Do I Need to Take Suboxone® Forever?

Suboxone® is not intended to be used lifelong, however in some cases that is the best option based on the discretion of your doctor. Most of the time, the medication may be used continuously under a doctor’s supervision without any issues, allowing patients in treatment to take charge of their life without relapsing into their addiction.

Can You Take Suboxone® for Pain?

When you have an opioid use problem, your brain uses opioids rather than the chemicals your body normally produces to control your mood, pain, and other sensations. You consequently get dependent on opioids in order to function. 

Since your opioid receptors regulate your perception of pain, Suboxone® may help some individuals feel less pain by stimulating their opioid receptors.

What is the Maximum Amount of Suboxone® You Can Take Per Day?

There is no official maximum limit on the daily dosage of Suboxone® that should be given to a patient. Doctors are only given instructions on how to prescribe Suboxone® due to the wide variation in patient responses to treatment and the length and dependency of their addictions.

What About Taking Suboxone® While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Long-acting opioid maintenance therapy, including Suboxone® is advised for opioid use disorder during pregnancy. This therapy is offered as part of an all-encompassing treatment strategy that also includes obstetrical care and behavioral intervention.

While taking Suboxone®, you can safely nurse your child. It is believed that the advantages outweigh the hazards for both you and your baby.

How Does Suboxone® Work?

Heroin and prescription painkillers are examples of short-acting opioids with negative effects that can be reversed with Suboxone®. Suboxone®, which has the two components buprenorphine and naloxone, stops the excruciating withdrawal symptoms brought on by an opioid addiction.

It works by blocking opiate receptors.

Does Suboxone® Block Opiates?

Suboxone® is part of a class of drugs that help those with opioid use disorder quit taking the drug and prevent the withdrawal symptoms and cravings connected with stopping opioids. Some of these medications either completely or partially block the brain’s opioid receptors.

How Long Does The Opiate Blocker In Suboxone® Last?

The length of time the opiate blocking effect lasts in a person will vary, depending on a person’s weight, their metabolism, and medical history. A doctor will work with you to determine which dose is best for you.

How Long Does Suboxone® Last?

Usually Suboxone® stays effective for about three days. Most medical professionals advise the drug to be taken once daily around the same time for the best results.

Does Suboxone® Give You Energy?

Suboxone® does not usually give the person taking it energy, in fact, the opposite is true. Taking Suboxone® may actually lead you to feel fatigued or drowsy.

Alternatives to Suboxone®

Methadone is an alternative medication to Suboxone®. Although it is similar to Suboxone® in that it is a drug that keeps opiate dependence at bay, it might not be the best choice. Behavioral treatment is another alternative.

Suboxone® vs. Methadone

During the first few days of detoxing from opiates, withdrawal symptoms are reduced by methadone and Suboxone®, respectively. Both can be used as a long-term treatment and taken daily. Those with opioid use disorder who participate in a maintenance program can go about their daily lives without being overtaken by cravings.

In the same way that heroin or OxyContin attach to opioid receptors, methadone is an opioid full agonist medicine. Similar to how a hit of the drug would work, methadone reduces cravings when it attaches to these receptors in the brain. However, when methadone is ingested, it does not result in the same euphoric high.

Suboxone® has a lesser affinity for the same opioid receptors because it is a partial agonist opioid. It has considerably less opioid side effects than methadone while suppressing cravings equally as efficiently.

Suboxone® vs. Butrans

Suboxone® and butrans are different in their uses. While Suboxone® treats opioid addiction, butrans treats pain and is incredibly addictive.

Belbuca Vs Suboxone®

Belbuca has the same active ingredient as Suboxone®, buprenorphine, but the FDA has not given it the green light to treat opioid use disorder. Only the treatment of persistent pain is permitted.

Subutex vs. Suboxone®

Both Suboxone® and Subutex, medications designed to treat opiate addiction, were authorized by the FDA in 2002. The key distinction is that Subutex solely contains buprenorphine, whereas Suboxone® also contains naloxone.

What Drugs Does Suboxone® Interact With?

When taken as directed, Suboxone® is safe and effective, but using it along with other medications might have substantial negative effects. Suboxone® may interact negatively with the following medications:

The Pros and Cons of Suboxone®

While taking Suboxone® has its benefits, it’s important to remain aware of the risks as well. 

Suboxone® Pros

There will always be different perspectives on how to assist those with substance use disorder in gaining sobriety. However, certain medical procedures are more debatable than others. Suboxone® is one among these treatments.

Suboxone® makes sense if you’re looking to cut ties with your addiction to opiates and other drugs. It blocks cravings and the effects of taking opiates, and helps alleviate undesirable withdrawal symptoms. 

Although the benefits far outweigh the risks, it’s crucial to know what you could be up against when taking this interventive medicine.

Suboxone® Cons

The use of this medication carries potential hazards. It will take a long time for users who are in recovery from addiction to stop using the drug. People may begin to taper off the medicine as they begin to maintain their recovery. 

The length of time someone must take the medication will vary depending on their treatment plan and how well they are responding to it. The substance can lead to addictions in certain people because it does produce desired effects. After developing a dependence on this medicine, stopping use may cause withdrawal symptoms.

Can You Take Pain Medication With Suboxone®?

You can use over the counter pain medication while taking Suboxone®. Your opioid use disorder will still be treated by Suboxone®, and painkillers will still be used to manage your pain. Safe co-administration of both drugs without triggering withdrawal symptoms is possible when done correctly.

Can You Have Surgery if You’re on Suboxone®?

Prior to undergoing and surgical procedures, you should notify your surgeon of your Suboxone® use. Due to the medication’s potential to interfere with standard operating room procedures, you might require specific care to manage your postoperative pain.

Can You Take Vitamins with Suboxone®?

Taking vitamins alongside Suboxone® is generally safe and may provide some nutrients you may lose during treatment.

Can You Take Vitamins with Suboxone®?

Side Effects of Suboxone®

The side effects of Suboxone® may vary from person to person. When taking this medication you may experience: 

  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • tingling tongue
  • fainting and dizziness
  • issues paying attention
  • abnormal heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • hazy vision
  • back ache
  • Drowsiness

Where Can I Get Suboxone®?

Suboxone® may be purchased at a pharmacy with a prescription. You may also be given Suboxone® during addiction treatment for opiates.

Who Prescribes Suboxone®?

Suboxone® must be prescribed by a qualified practitioner. Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse-Midwives are examples of qualified practitioners (CNM).

How Much Does Suboxone® Cost Without Insurance?

For a 30-day supply, Suboxone® prescriptions can cost anywhere from $90 to $600. The price will vary depending on whether tablets or strips are used, how many doses are required each day, and the prescription strength.

What Happens During a Suboxone® Treatment Program?

Suboxone® treatment plans revolve around a few different goals. First, to help you wean off opiate drugs by placing you on Suboxone®. Then, therapists within your program will work with you to help you uncover why you turn to drugs in the first place and how to develop better coping mechanisms. There are both inpatient and outpatient Suboxone® treatments.

Together, you and your care team will help determine which level of care is best for you.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Suboxone® Treatment

Patients receiving inpatient care are constantly surrounded by specialists who can help them stay on track with their rehabilitation. Patients with Opioid use disorder who have a little more control over their lives or a strong support system at home may benefit from outpatient Suboxone® treatment.


Inpatient Suboxone® TreatmentOutpatient Suboxone® Treatment
Provides continuous monitoringAbility to stay at home between sessions
Access to therapists on-demandCan remain committed to careers, school, family obligations
Regular doctor check-insTreatment is still supervised with daily or weekly visits

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Suboxone®

Can You Get Addicted to Suboxone®?

While Suboxone® does help with opiate addictions, in some cases someone might become addicted to taking Suboxone® due to the effect it has on the brain.

What Happens if You get Addicted to Suboxone®?

While Suboxone® is prescribed to help patients stop using heroin and other opiates, Suboxone® itself has a high risk for abuse. When an individual becomes addicted to Suboxone®, treatment is necessary to help stop taking the substance entirely.

A detox center can help individuals struggling with Suboxone® addiction remove the substance from their body and enter into a treatment program.

How Do You Detox From Suboxone®?

Suboxone® detox produces withdrawal effects similar to that of other opiates if stopped abruptly, including nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, mood shifts, and muscle and body aches. Sometimes, these side effects can be severe, which can result in Suboxone® relapse or use of other opiates.

If you or someone you love is addicted to Suboxone®, the best course of action to stop usage is medical detox under the supervision of a professional.

Why is it Important to Detox Before Going to Rehab?

The majority of rehab centers will not admit someone into their programs who is actively using. This is detrimental to the individual as well as the recovery environment. Detoxing prior to entering rehab allows the person to be completely present for their treatment without having to combat physical addiction or withdrawal symptoms.

What Happens After Detox?

After detox, an individual enters into treatment. It is important that an individual is admitted to rehab immediately after detox to prevent relapse.

Is Inpatient or Outpatient Suboxone® Recovery Right For Me?

Whether or not inpatient or outpatient care is right for you will depend on your own unique circumstances. During your initial assessment with a detox and rehab center, the admissions specialist will help determine what level of support will be most beneficial for your recovery.

Those who need 24 hour support or are at a higher risk of relapse may be referred to an inpatient addiction center. Others may need a lower level of care, or cannot commit to a residential program, and will be referred to outpatient services.

Detox from Suboxone® at Gallus

At Gallus, we treat our suboxone detox patients with respect and believe in dignity in healing. Whether it’s to opiates, or other prescription medications, your addiction is not who you are. We provide alternative types of addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) therapy.

To begin the process of healing, get in touch with us right away.

Last medically reviewed on February 03, 2023

Gallus Detox takes information integrity seriously. We have strict content guidelines in place that rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our sources. We do not use tertiary references as sources of information. We know that the internet is full of opinions, it is our top priority to ensure all of our published content is factual, science based, and medically reviewed by a doctorate level clinician to ensure medical accuracy.

  • At Gallus, we treat our patients with respect and believe in dignity in healing. Whether it’s to opiates, or other prescription medications, your addiction is not who you are. We provide alternative types of addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) therapy. To begin the process of healing, get in touch with us right away.
  • Shulman, M., Wai, J. M., & Nunes, E. V. (2019, June). Buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder: An overview. CNS drugs. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from
  • Velander, J. R. (2018). Suboxone: Rationale, science, misconceptions. The Ochsner journal. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from