How to take Suboxone

You should take Suboxone according to your doctor’s instructions.

Timing

When you’ll take the drug depends on which treatment phase you’re in: induction or maintenance.

  • Induction phase: During this phase, the drug decreases your withdrawal symptoms while you stop or reduce opioid use. You’ll receive Suboxone at your doctor’s office during the induction phase. During this time, your doctor will give you specific instructions on how and when to take the medication during the maintenance phase.
  • Maintenance phase: During this phase, the drug keeps your withdrawal symptoms and cravings in check as you complete your drug abuse or addiction treatment program. You’ll take Suboxone once daily at about the same time each day during this phase. You can do this at home.

Taking Suboxone with food

Suboxone is not swallowed. Instead, the film is placed under your tongue or between your gums and your cheek, where it will dissolve.

Because it’s absorbed in your mouth and not your stomach, you can take it on an empty stomach or after a meal. However, you should not consume food or drink anything while the film is in your mouth.

Suboxone and pregnancy

Suboxone contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Research is limited on how these two drugs might affect a human pregnancy.

Available studies have not found any major birth defects or other effects on the fetus when buprenorphine is used during pregnancy. For naloxone, there’s not enough information available about its use during pregnancy to know what its effects might be.

Despite the limited research, it’s clear that using Suboxone during pregnancy can cause a condition called neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborn infants. Symptoms can include:

  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • excessive crying
  • trouble sleeping
  • failure to gain weight

In addition, women who take Suboxone while pregnant may need additional pain medication during labor and delivery. This is because Suboxone blocks the effects of opioid medications, which may be used during labor and delivery to relieve pain.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine recommends treatment with methadone rather than Suboxone for pregnant women who are opioid dependent. They also recommend buprenorphine alone (not the Suboxone combination) as an alternative choice.

It’s important to note that treatment for opioid dependence is still important if you’re pregnant. Untreated opioid dependence in pregnant women carries serious risks. It’s been linked with low birthweight, preterm birth, and fetal death.

If you’re pregnant and dependent on opioids, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the best treatment for you during your pregnancy.

Suboxone and breastfeeding

Suboxone contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. These drugs are both thought to be safe to use during breastfeeding.

Still, if you’re taking Suboxone and breastfeeding, you should watch your baby for side effects such as:

  • excessive sleepiness
  • failure to gain weight
  • inactivity or lethargy
  • trouble breathing

If any of these potential side effects happen in your baby, contact your doctor right away. If your baby is not breathing or you cannot wake them up, call 911 or emergency medical services.