Suboxone Effects: Its Full Impact on Opioid Recovery


Suboxone is a powerful medication that is used to treat opioid use disorder.

The medication helps the user to transition away from the use of opioids, providing physical and therapeutic effects that assist with the journey to a drug-free life. However, Suboxone can also produce adverse effects, which is why the use of the medication needs to be undertaken seriously.

This article will discuss:

  • What  Suboxone is
  • The therapeutic, physical, and psychological effects of Suboxone
  • The side effects of the medication
  • The consequences of misusing or stopping Suboxone.

Let’s get straight into it!

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the generic name for a medication that is primarily used to treat Opioid Use Disorder.  It typically comes as a sublingual tablet or as a sublingual film.

Suboxone is a “partial opiate”, and therefore all users need to understand the positive and negative effects the medication can have. While Suboxone offers many therapeutic effects, users can also be subject to unpleasant side effects.

The Composition of Suboxone

Suboxone is composed of a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it creates the same euphoric effects seen with full opioid agonists, just to a much lower degree. On the other hand, Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, working to attach itself to opioid receptors and block the effects of other opioids in the system.

Together, these two components work by binding to the opioid receptors in your brain — lessening the effects of the other drugs in the system and reducing cravings for additional opioids.

The Therapeutic Effects of Suboxone

The therapeutic effects of Suboxone allow the medication to be a powerful treatment tool for those struggling with Opioid Use Disorder.

Some of the key therapeutic effects include a reduction of opioid withdrawal symptoms and a decrease in opioid cravings.

Additionally, the medication blocks the effects of full opioids and can restore your brain to a normal level of function.

These therapeutic effects are pivotal in helping the patient adjust to no longer taking opioids as they ease the transition into opioid-free living.

The Physical Effects of Suboxone

Immediate effects post-administration

One of the most useful effects of Suboxone is the physical impact it immediately has post-administration.

By producing manageable levels of opioid effects within the brain, the medication relieves any current opioid withdrawal symptoms.

This allows any physical discomfort to be relieved, making the user less likely to turn back to opioids to end the withdrawal effects.

Potential feelings of mild euphoria or calm

Another physical effect of Suboxone is its potential to create mild feelings of euphoria or calm, as it is a partial opiate.

The chances of this occurring are increased for those who were not previously opioid-dependent; however, it is still a possible effect for all.

This effect also increases your chances of responding well to any behavioral therapy that you may undergo.

The Psychological and Cognitive Effects of Suboxone

Mood stabilization

Suboxone can also affect you psychologically, and often users will find it has effects on mood stability.

Frequently, those experiencing opioid withdrawal are subject to violent mood swings. By allowing Suboxone into your system, these effects are reversed and mood may be stabilized.

Potential improvements in cognitive function over continued use

Studies have indicated that continued use of Suboxone can result in improved cognitive function. This is because the use and abuse of opioids often negatively impact the way in which your brain works.

Using Suboxone instead prevents the effects of opioids from taking hold and allows your brain to return to its previous function.

Reduction of drug-seeking behaviors

One of the core functions of Suboxone is its ability to reduce drug cravings. This psychological effect usually results in users reducing the level of drug-seeking behaviors that they engage in, as they no longer crave opioids.

The Side Effects of Suboxone

Common side effects of Suboxone

Common side effects of Suboxone include:

  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle aches.

Less common, but serious side effects of Suboxone

Serious side effects that are less common but require medical attention include:

  • Urinary retention
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hives, a rash, or itching on the skin
  • Bloating or swelling of the limbs
  • Fainting
  • Depression
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual bowel movements.

Long-term potential side effects of Suboxone

Suboxone use also comes with the risk of long-term potential side effects, including:

  • Liver function issues
  • Reduced mental health
  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Chronic pain
  • Tooth decay.

The Effects of Misusing Suboxone

Due to its status as a partial opioid and the long list of potential side effects, misusing Suboxone can be detrimental to your health.

Not taking your correct dose of Suboxone may result in withdrawal symptoms including headaches, constipation, and flu-like symptoms.

If you take too much Suboxone, you may experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or extreme drowsiness and fatigue. If this happens to you, it is important that you seek medical attention from a healthcare provider.

Additionally, the misuse of Suboxone can result in addiction or dependency on the drug, which means your long-term goal of living a substance-free life will be significantly decreased as you will need to gradually ease off the medication.

Stopping Suboxone too quickly can result in a slew of withdrawal symptoms that are similar to those experienced during opioid withdrawal. Therefore, the medication must be handled with care.

The Individual Variability in Experiencing Suboxone Effects

Suboxone’s effects may vary from person to person depending on several factors.

Often, factors such as age, gender, health, and metabolic rates can influence how and which effects of Suboxone you may experience as they control how your body absorbs the medication.

This means that there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan when it comes to using Suboxone as your unique features will need to be monitored and taken into account to see how your body reacts to the medication.

Final Thoughts

Suboxone is one of the best tools out there for treating Opioid Use Disorder. However, it is important to familiarize yourself with its effects.

While there are many positive and therapeutic effects from Suboxone, there are also a plethora of adverse effects that could negatively impact your health.

This is why it’s vital to educate yourself when it comes to Suboxone, as doing so will allow you to develop a tailored plan to help you mitigate and manage the effects of the medication.


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