Suboxone Strips | Uses & Abuse Potential
Opioid drugs are powerful painkillers. Some people who use them develop an opioid addiction also called opioid use disorder (OUD). This disease causes physical dependence, which means a person may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to detox from the drug.
To ease opioid withdrawal symptoms and help people recover from opioid dependence, doctors often prescribe Suboxone strips.
How Suboxone Strips Work
Suboxone strips are sublingual film strips. “Sublingual” means you place the strip under your tongue, where it eventually dissolves so your body can absorb the Suboxone.
Suboxone is the brand name for a combination medication that consists of buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. By activating opioid receptors in the brain, it reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids. It’s often used to reverse opioid overdoses.
Since buprenorphine treats OUD symptoms and naloxone blocks opioid effects, most people find that Suboxone works well when taken as prescribed.
Side Effects Of Suboxone Strips
The most common side effects of Suboxone film strips include:
- tongue pain
- stomach and/or back pain
- blurry vision
In rare cases, the strips can cause more serious side effects, such as:
- reduced sexual desire or ability
- extreme drowsiness
- slurred speech
- hives, rash, and/or itching
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
- nausea and/or vomiting
- irregular menstruation
- swelling of the face, hands, feet, or legs
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
- trouble breathing or swallowing
If you experience any of these serious side effects, contact your health care provider right away.
Abuse Of Suboxone Strips
Some people abuse Suboxone strips to feel euphoric or “high.” Drug abuse occurs when you use a drug in a manner not prescribed by your doctor. Common ways to abuse Suboxone strips include:
- using more than one strip at a time
- using the strips without a prescription
- dissolving the strips in water and then injecting the Suboxone into your skin
Because Suboxone contains an opioid antagonist that blocks opioid effects, a Suboxone high is generally less intense than highs from other opioids. Still, regular abuse of Suboxone strips can sometimes lead to addiction.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has a Suboxone addiction, look for these signs:
- experiencing intense cravings for Suboxone
- withdrawing from family and friends
- avoiding work or school
- “doctor shopping,” or visiting multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions of Suboxone
- mood swings
Suboxone Addiction Treatment Options
People who abuse or are addicted to Suboxone strips should seek help at a substance abuse treatment program.
Available on an inpatient or outpatient basis, these programs offer behavioral therapy, peer support groups, and other recovery services to help you adjust to life without Suboxone.If you or someone you love struggles with Suboxone use, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our addiction treatment centers.
National Institute on Drug Abuse - How Do Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Work
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio)
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (opioid dependence)
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