Suboxone – Buprenorphine and Naloxone

Q. What Is Suboxone?

A. Suboxone is a highly effective prescription medication used to treat opioid addiction. It contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. It is available in filmstrip form and should be taken once a day as directed by a doctor as part of a comprehensive medication-assisted addiction treatment program.

Q. What Are Opioids?

A. Opioids, also known as opiates, are natural and synthetic drugs that interact with the nervous system to relieve pain. Most commonly abused opioids are heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers like Demerol, OxyContin, and Vicodin.

Q. What Is Buprenorphine?

A. It is an opioid medication used to treat moderate to mild pain. As part of medication-assisted treatment, buprenorphine helps individuals safely and comfortably taper off opioids. It binds to the same opioid receptors as the abused drug, reducing craving and withdrawal symptoms, without producing the high that the abused drug would.

Q. What Is Naloxone?

A. It is a medication that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system and reverses the effects of opioids. It is often used in the treatment of opioid overdoses. The naloxone in Suboxone has no effect if Suboxone is taken as directed. Rather, naloxone is added to Suboxone to deter intravenous abuse. If an individual tries to inject Suboxone, the naloxone will activate and block the opiate receptors. This will prevent the individual from experiencing a high, and will cause them to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Q. How Does Suboxone Work?

A. Suboxone stimulates the opiate receptors in the brain, suppressing cravings and withdrawal symptoms for 24 hours.

Q. Who Is Suboxone For?

A. Suboxone is for individuals who are struggling with severe opioid addiction and are unable to focus on their recovery. It has also proven effective among individuals for whom other forms of treatment did not work.

Q. Will I Have to Stay on It Forever?

A. Length of treatment varies depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. However, once the individual is ready and has established a strong foundation for sobriety, they can taper off Suboxone under medical supervision.

Q. What Are Common Suboxone Side-Effects?

A. The most common side-effects include headache, insomnia, stomach pain, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and sweating. Although serious side-effects are rare, they can occur, as can severe allergic reactions. Individuals should only take Suboxone under medical supervision.

Q. Is It Addictive?

A. Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a low-level opioid, and while it is less addictive than more potent opioids, there is potential for developing a dependency to the drug. Because it is possible to become addicted to Suboxone, it is important that individuals carefully follow the dosage prescribed by their doctor.

Q. Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

A. It is possible to overdose on Suboxone, and in some cases, overdoses can be fatal. Overdoses are more likely to occur when using Suboxone with alcohol or other drugs. The most common signs of Suboxone overdose include slowed heartbeat, loss of physical coordination, depressed breathing, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. An individual experiencing an overdose should seek immediate medical attention as symptoms could cause long-term damage or death.


Suboxone has a high success rate in helping individuals remain sober. By significantly reducing or eliminating cravings, it allows individuals to focus on other aspects of addiction treatment such as participating in clinical therapy and adopting wellness practices that support recovery. To learn more about Suboxone and whether it is right for you or a loved one, call our Admissions team now.