Safe Use of Suboxone

Safety Precautions for Suboxone

It is critical to follow Suboxone directions for use. Injection with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol, have been known to cause respiratory failure and death.

Combining Suboxone with other Drugs or Medications

Combining Suboxone with other drugs such as benzodiazepines, alcohol, tranquilizers, anti-depressants and opioids can be extremely dangerous. Use of the drug while not under a doctor’s care or in dosages other than prescribed may also be detrimental. Combining the regularly prescribed dose of Suboxone with depressants of any kind may lead to over-sedation, unconsciousness, and death. It is crucial that you make your physician aware of any other medications you are using. The physician will ensure there are no adverse effects from drug interactions.

Suboxone and Alcohol Side Effects

  • Increased drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that will amplify the effects of Suboxone. You should not consume alcohol while taking Suboxone.

Suboxone Dependence

Suboxone and Subutex are partially composed of opiates; therefore, they have the same potential for dependence and abuse as other opioid drugs.  You should contact your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Faintness, dizziness or confusion
  • Slower than normal breathing; this may indicate the dosage of Suboxone was too large
  • Any type of allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of the face, wheezing, difficulty breathing or shock
  • Evidence of liver problems such yellowing of skin or whites of the eyes
  • Dark urine or light colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite for an extended period of time
  • Nausea or pain in the stomach
  • Head injury; Suboxone may alter the size of the pupil and interfere with proper diagnosis

Suboxone Use and Pregnancy

There have been no conclusive studies performed on Suboxone use during pregnancy. However, neonatal withdrawal has been reported in infants of women treated with Suboxone during pregnancy. Neonatal withdrawal signs have persisted from 1 to 8 days and include tremors, agitation, apnea and respiratory depression. You should avoid using Suboxone while pregnant unless your physician has determined that the benefits out weight the risks to the unborn child. As a precautionary measure, those who take Suboxone should use some form of contraception. If you are taking Suboxone and plan to become pregnant or become pregnant, it is important to notify your physician immediately. Opioids can alter the menstrual cycle in some women and may persist throughout use. This does not affect the ability to become pregnant.

Suboxone and Breast-feeding

Suboxone is passed from the mother’s milk to the child and may be harmful. It should not be used if you are breast-feeding. Let your physician know if you are breast-feeding prior to beginning treatment for opioid dependence.

Can You Drive on Suboxone?

Suboxone may impair the mental and physical abilities necessary for driving or operating machinery. The drug may slow reaction times or cause drowsiness. This is especially true during the first few weeks after beginning treatment or when the dosage is being changed. Extreme caution should be used when operating a motor vehicle or machinery.

Common Side Effects of Suboxone

The most common side effects of Suboxone are similar to those experienced when taking other opioids and include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, pain, cramps and sleep disorders
  • Nausea
  • Constipations

Inform your physician of any side effects you experience. Many of the symptoms can be treated.

Using Suboxone for Children

Suboxone is recommended for use with people 16 years old and older. The drug is not approved for use in children under 16 years of age. Suboxone overdose is extremely hazardous to children and may be lethal.

Using Suboxone Appropriately

Suboxone should only be used as prescribed. Patients who are prescribed pain medications should not have their prescriptions changed to Suboxone since it isn’t indicated for pain relief. Never allow anyone else to take your medication even if they are addicted to opiates and are experiencing the same symptoms you have. The drug may cause serious medical problems if the person is given the wrong dose or interacts with other drugs. It is also illegal to share your medications.

Northbound Treatment Services offers treatment programs for those who are addicted to opioid drugs, including suboxone. We do not believe in utilizing harm reduction strategies long term. While suboxone may ease the detoxification process from opiates and opioid drugs, it should only be used on a temporary basis and then tapered off before a patient begins the recovery process. Healing can begin when the body and mind are free from all mood and mind altering substances. Northbound assists client with the detox and stabilization process in a safe, caring environment. We offer individual treatment plants and a variety of therapies to help patients regain control of their lives and begin a healthy new life.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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