What Does Suboxone Look Like?

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Suboxone is a tool used in Medication-Assisted Treatment for people who are suffering from opioid addiction. It is important to know what your medication should look like in order to avoid the risk of counterfeits.

In this guide, we will give you a run downtown on what Subxone should look like and what the different numbers on your medication mean. Read on to find out:

  • What Suboxone is used for
  • The two forms Suboxone is available in
  • The appearance of both forms of Suboxone
  • The risks of counterfeit medication and how to avoid them.

Let’s get into it.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication used to treat Opioid Use Disorder. It can help manage physical withdrawal symptoms, along with drug cravings in those who are detoxing from opioids by binding to the same receptors.

The medication contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Together, they work to help ease the side effects of withdrawal and have low misuse potential.

What Does Suboxone Look Like?

Suboxone is available in two forms: either sublingual tablets or sublingual strips. Because both are available in generic or branded forms, they may look a little different.

In general, the tablets are orange and hexagonal shaped, but can also be small and circular. Meanwhile, the film is a small, thin, orange almost paper-like rectangle.

Forms of Suboxone and What They Look Like

As mentioned above, Suboxone is sold in two forms either as sublingual films or sublingual tablets. Both are placed under the tongue and left to dissolve over about a minute or so.

1. Tablet/Pill Form

Because there are multiple brands of Suboxone, the sublingual tablets will look a little different from one another.

There are a few different kinds of Suboxone tablets. One kind of Suboxone tablet is small, hexagonally shaped, and orange. It also has numbers on it, similar to the films, that give information on the dosage.

Other Suboxone sublingual tablets are round or oval-shaped and typically have a white color. The tablet also will likely have a numerical imprint which indicates its strength.

2. Film or Strip Form

Suboxone film strips are small, rectangular strips that resemble a small piece of paper. Suboxone films can look a little different depending on the brand that is producing the medication and the dosage.

Common appearance of Suboxone films:

  • Shape: Suboxone films are typically small, rectangular strips, measuring about 1.5 inches in length and around 1/2 inch in width
  • Color: Suboxone films can come in various colors but are commonly orange
  • Packaging: Suboxone films are often individually packaged in sealed foil pouches to keep them protected from moisture and light.
  • Numbers: Suboxone strips usually have numbers on them that show how strong they are.

What the numbers mean:

  • N2 Strip: Contains 2mg of buprenorphine and 0.5mg of naloxone
  • N4 Strip: Contains 4mg of  buprenorphine and 1mg of naloxone
  • N8 Strip: Contains 8mg of buprenorphine and 2mg of naloxone
  • N12 Strip: Contains 12mg of buprenorphine and 3mg of naloxone/

3. Generic Suboxone

Generic Suboxone strips are orange and rectangular, with the exception of the 2 strips which are square. Written on them is one of four letters- 2, 4, 8, or 12 – each with different doses of Naloxone and buprenorphine.

Warning: Counterfeit Suboxone

For people in recovery who are suffering from opioid addiction and trying to become sober, they may be tempted to self-medicate with Suboxone.

Suboxone can effectively manage opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as opioid cravings. However, it is important to only take medication that is prescribed to you.

Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication and can be prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional. They will ensure the dose is right for you and can help you manage your withdrawal.

Counterfeit Suboxone that has been purchased off the black market can be dangerous. It can contain unknown chemicals and drugs, along with stronger opioids that can cause respiratory depression. The dosages contained are also often unreliable, and you can run into trouble going through Suboxone withdrawal once you run out.

It is important only to get your Suboxone from a licensed pharmacy, with a valid prescription.

How To Avoid Counterfeit Medication

  • Buy from professionals: Only purchase medication from the pharmacists
  • Emergency Suboxone: If you run out of your medication, visit the ED to receive an emergency supply, don’t resort to the black market
  • Spot fakes: Know what to expect, and what each form of Suboxone looks like so that you can spot fakes
  • Consult with your doctor: If you are worried about counterfeit medication, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help you identify real vs fake medication.

Conclusion

Suboxone is used as part of medication-assisted treatment for people with Opioid Use Disorder. It is important to know what Suboxone looks like so that you can avoid counterfeit medication.

However, you should always purchase Suboxone from a licensed pharmacy, with a doctor’s prescription. Taking Suboxone under medical supervision also allows the doctor to guide you through the withdrawal process to help you ultimately overcome opioid dependence.

References

  • https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/quick-start-guide.pdf
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18290581/

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