Suboxone<sup style="top: -0.1em; font-size: 1em !important;"><sup>®</sup></sup> Strips: Side Effects and What Are They?

Suboxone® Strips are one of the most popular medications used by people who want to withdraw from opioid dependence. Though Suboxone® must be used with care, the risk of addiction or overdose is much lower than using full opioids. Most addiction experts and medical professionals agree that Suboxone® for opioid withdrawal saves many lives by increasing the number of people who recover from opioid use. Following the guidelines for use will help you use Suboxone® Strips most safely and effectively.

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The Side Effects of Suboxone® Strips

Suboxone® Strips contain buprenorphine and naloxone. They bind to the same receptors in your brain as opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. Suboxone® reduces your cravings and blocks the effects of using full opioids for at least 24 hours. This allows you to gradually recover from dependence on them. Using any medication for Opioid Use Disorder reduces the risk of dangerous nonfatal overdoses, as well as lowers the risk of a fatal overdose by around 50%. 

The popularity of Suboxone® Strips stems both from its ease of use and its lower risk of abuse compared to other medications such as Methadone. Suboxone® can help you transition from opioid use to sobriety without the necessity of visiting a clinic for your daily dose. Since it’s administered in a dissolvable strip placed in your mouth, it’s convenient but may cause immediate numbness or pain. Other common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Trouble focusing
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Mouth irritation
  • Back pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Sweating
  • Painful tongue
  • Dizziness and fainting

It’s important to contact a health professional if you experience any side effects of Suboxone® so that they can adjust your dose or take other measures to increase your comfort.

Mental Side Effects of Suboxone®

Symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, and depression are possible mental side effects of Suboxone®. It’s important to notify your healthcare provider if you experience these, as they increase your risk of returning to opioid use for relief. You’re most likely to fully recover from Opioid Use Disorder if you work with an addiction professional. They will create a customized treatment plan for you that addresses your prior mental health needs, as well as those that surface as a result of using Suboxone®.

Managing Suboxone® and Its Risks

While it’s much safer than using a full opioid, Suboxone® contains Buprenorphine, which is an opiate. Suboxone® therefore has the potential to be addictive and it’s also possible to overdose on it if you don’t take precautions. You can reduce your risk by making sure your healthcare provider knows all of your health conditions and prescribed medications before they prescribe Suboxone®. If you experience respiratory distress or other symptoms suddenly and intensely, call 911 immediately. 

Participating in other kinds of treatments and activities also increases your likelihood of full recovery, and decreases the risks of Suboxone®. Suboxone® management for recovery is enhanced by participating in:

  • Healthcare appointments to manage all medical and psychological issues
  • A recovery group such as Methadone Anonymous or Smart Recovery 
  • Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) individual or group therapy 
  • Family or couples therapy  
  • Social and physical activities you enjoy
  • Community engagement

Close monitoring by medical and mental health care professionals, along with participation in complementary therapies and activities, optimizes your mental and physical health as you recover.

Suboxone® Withdrawal

side effects of treatment using Suboxone

It’s important to have your doctor help you taper off Suboxone® to reduce the risks of sudden withdrawal. Your symptoms will be most intense for the first 72 hours, just as with other substances. Physical discomfort will gradually subside over the next one to three weeks, with psychological symptoms such as depression and cravings most likely to linger. Temporary conditions caused by Suboxone® withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Fever and chills
  • Drug cravings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Head, muscle, or body aches
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

The one-month mark of withdrawal from any substance is the most vulnerable period of time for relapse. It’s vital that you continue to connect with medical and mental health providers, family members, friends, and recovery peers through this time. Learning coping strategies in individual or group therapy or treatment before you withdraw from Suboxone® will increase your ability to withstand the challenges of withdrawal and enjoy a full recovery.

The Long-Term Effects of Suboxone® Strips

Long-term studies are being conducted to distinguish whether the long-term effects of Suboxone® Strips are more likely to be consequences of the initial Opioid Use Disorder or uniquely related to Suboxone® Strips. Common long-term effects of Suboxone® use include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of pleasurable sensation under normal circumstances
  • Decreased pain tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Cravings
  • Flat affect
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Decreased motivation
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Decreased sexual desire

Working with addiction professionals who are educated about opioid and Suboxone® withdrawal will help you have a more comfortable, successful recovery journey. Call WhiteSands in Tampa at 877-997-9695 for detox information. They will help you understand the treatment process and explore local treatment options and costs with you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the common side effects of Suboxone® strips?

Common side effects of Suboxone® Strips include digestive irritation, irregular heartbeat, sweating, headache, drowsiness, trouble focusing, numb mouth, dizziness, and insomnia.

Are there mental side effects associated with Suboxone® use?

Suboxone® use can cause nervousness, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s important to mention these to your doctor or therapist to explore possible coping strategies and comfort measures.

What risks are associated with Suboxone® treatment?

Suboxone® has a low to moderate risk of changing the brain’s chemistry to the point of becoming addictive. There is a risk of developing Substance Use Disorder with Suboxone®, but the risk is much less than that of using full opioids. The risk of overdose is lessened by sharing about your other health conditions and prescription medications with your doctor, taking only the amount of Suboxone® prescribed, and not combining Suboxone® with other drugs.

How can one manage Suboxone® use effectively?

Managing Suboxone® use under the care of a doctor and addiction professional reduces the risk of serious, ongoing side effects.

What are the withdrawal symptoms when stopping Suboxone® strips?

Withdrawal symptoms may include intense physical discomfort including fever, chills, dizziness, and cravings, and psychological symptoms such as irritability, depression, insomnia, and anxiety.

What are the long-term effects of Suboxone® strips?

Studies are underway to explore whether long-term effects such as cravings, hair loss, flat affect, decreased sexual desire, depression, constipation, and emotional dysregulation are related to the initial Opioid Use Disorder or to Suboxone® use itself.

How can the side effects of Suboxone® withdrawal be managed?

The side effects of Suboxone® withdrawal can be managed by tapering off Suboxone® with the guidance of a provider, staying connected with recovery peers and supportive friends and family members, practicing self-care, and participating in adjunct individual or group therapy.

Can long-term effects of Suboxone® use be mitigated or reversed?

The long-term effects can be mitigated by continuing treatment for all of your medical and mental health conditions, connecting with a recovery community, participating in health activities you enjoy, and attending individual or group therapy.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.