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The Negative Side Effects of Suboxone

By Rae Uddin ; Updated August 14, 2017

Suboxone (buprenorphine hydrochloride) is a prescription narcotic medication indicated to treat patients recovering from dependence on opioid drugs such as heroin. This medication is administered orally beneath the tongue (sublingually), and should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor. The negative side effects of Suboxone should be discussed with your doctor before you begin treatment.


The most common negative side effect associated with Suboxone use is headache. In a four-week clinical trial, 36 percent of patients who were administered Suboxone reported experiencing headache as a side effect of treatment, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In contrast, 22 percent of placebo-treated patients experienced similar side effects. Headache pain can be mild to moderate, and typically subsides with continued Suboxone treatment.


Suboxone may cause muscle pain which may cause you to feel tired or lethargic. You may have difficulty moving about normally due to this side effect. Typically, these sensations are mild and subside progressively with recurrent use of this medication.


The FDA reports that 15 percent of patients receiving Suboxone experienced nausea during clinical trials, while only 11 percent of patients receiving a placebo reported similar side effects. Nausea can be uncomfortable and may become worse during motion-related activities such as walking.


Patients receiving Suboxone may experience difficult bowel movements (constipation). In clinical trials, 12 percent of Suboxone-treated patients and 3 percent of placebo-treated patients experienced constipation, reports the FDA. Constipation can contribute to additional stomach-related side effects, including abdominal cramping, pain or bloating.


During treatment with Suboxone, you may find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Additional Suboxone side effects, such as headache, pain and nausea, can exacerbate sleeping difficulties in some patients. Insomnia can cause you to experience excessive daytime sleepiness, which can negatively impact your ability to stay alert during your usual activities.

Withdrawal Syndrome

Some patients may experience withdrawal while taking Suboxone. Symptoms of withdrawal syndrome include fatigue, stomach upset, sweating, muscle cramping, seizures, yawning, sneezing, chills or depression. These side effects can cause significant discomfort, but tend to subside with subsequent use of Suboxone.

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