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What is Subutex?
Subutex (oral or sublingual) is an opioid pain medication. The oral/sublingual form helps treat opioid addiction. Other forms of buprenorphine help treat moderate to severe pain. The sublingual form of Subutex is not for use as a pain medication. Subutex is used to treat opiate addiction. It is used for dependence on opioid medications, including heroin and prescription pain relievers, such as codeine, morphine, and oxycodone.
How to take Subutex?
Use the medicine as per your doctor’s prescription. Read carefully and follow all the directions on your prescription label and medication guides. Occasionally, your doctor may change your dose. Never use Subutex in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
- Usually, one takes Subutex sublingual only at the initial phase of treatment for addiction. Later, most people switch to another medicine that contains Sublocade, Bunavil, Zubsolv, and Suboxone.
- It would help if you took the first few Subutex doses in a hospital or clinical setting until there is an improvement in your condition.
- Never share an opioid medication with someone else, especially someone with past drug abuse or addiction. Misuse of an opioid drug like Subutex can cause addiction, overdose, or death. It is against the lawful act to sell or giveaway this medication without a proper medical license.
- Handle the tablet with dry hands. Place the capsule under your tongue and let it dissolve with your mouth closed. Swallow the whole pill without chewing it.
- Do not drink or eat until the film or tablet dissolve entirely in your mouth.
- You may often need frequent blood tests to check the proper functioning of your liver.
- If you need surgery, tell the surgeon before that you are using Subutex.
- Never break or crush a Subutex pill to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid or injection into your vein. It may result in death.
- Tell each of your medical healthcare providers that your opioid addiction treatment is using Subutex sublingual. Ensure that your family members know how to describe your condition in terms of emergency.
- Do not suddenly stop taking Subutex, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take your doctor’s help to stop using this medicine safely.
- Store it away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Keep track of your drug. Be aware of someone misusing it or using it without a prescription because Subutex is a drug of abuse.
- Dispose of the leftover medicine. Just one improper or an accidental dose of this drug may prove fatal.
What to know before taking Subutex?
Avoid using Subutex if you are allergic to it or if you had another narcotic drug within the past four hours.
Tell each of your medical healthcare providers if you have ever had:
- Sleep apnea, breathing problems;
- Methadone treatment;
- Liver disease (especially hepatitis B or hepatitis C);
- Abnormal spine curvature that affects breathing;
- Urination problems due to enlarged prostate;
- Kidney disease;
- Hallucinations, alcoholism, mental illness;
- A head injury or brain tumor; or
- Problems with your gallbladder, stomach, thyroid, or adrenal gland
If you are using Subutex during pregnancy, or you could give birth to a drug-dependent baby. It can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby. Babies born dependent on such habit-forming drugs may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Buprenorphine can pass into the breastmilk and may cause breathing problems and drowsiness in a nursing baby. Talk to your doctor regarding any risk.
It is not under the recommendation for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
What are the benefits of using Subutex?
Subutex is helpful in the treatment of pain drug (opioid) addiction. The formulated combination of buprenorphine/naloxone is an opioid antagonist.
A transdermal patch of this medicine is available for the treatment of chronic pain. This patch is not for use in acute pain or pain after injury and opioid addiction treatment.
What are the side effects of Subutex?
Go for emergency medical help if you have allergic reactions due to the use of Subutex. An allergic reaction sign may include trouble breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Opioid medication can slow down or stop your breathing, and death may occur. Your attendant must seek emergency medical attention if you have blue-colored lips, slow breathing with long pauses, or if you are hard to wake up.
Call the doctor instantly if you have:
- Shallow breathing, sighing, noisy breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms- goosebumps, shivering, feeling hot or cold, increased sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, muscle pain, diarrhea;
- Feeling light-headed, like you might pass out;
- Weak pulse or slow heartbeat;
- Low cortisol levels- vomiting, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, worsening tiredness or weakness;
- Trouble breathing, chest pain; or
- Liver problems- nausea, itching, upper stomach pain, dark urine, loss of appetite, jaundice, clay-colored stools
Get medical attention promptly if you have serotonin syndrome symptoms, such as agitation, fever, hallucinations, sweating, rapid heart rate, shivering, twitching, muscle stiffness, nausea, loss of coordination, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Common side effects to Subutex that are more likely to occur may include:
- Nausea, constipation, vomiting;
- Insomnia (other sleep problems);
- Increased sweating; or
- Pain anywhere in your body
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Take your doctor’s medical advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
How does Subutex work?
Subutex works by displacing other opioids bound to the receptors and accelerating an acute withdrawal. The dose of Subutex leads to adjustment until symptoms improve and individuals remain on maintenance dose through the treatment.
It works in the form of a transdermal patch to treat chronic pain. When an individual uses it as a transdermal patch, the potency of buprenorphine may be 100-115 times that of morphine.
It affects different types of opioid receptors in different ways. Based on the type of receptor, it may be an agonist, partial agonist, or antagonist.
What to avoid while using Subutex?
Avoid consumption of alcohol. It can result in dangerous side effects, or death could occur.
Avoid driving any vehicle or operating machinery until you know this medicine’s effect on you. Drowsiness or dizziness can lead to falls, accidents, or severe injuries.