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Suboxone Warnings and Precautions

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Suboxone

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this opioid medicine include the following:
  • Suboxone can cause potentially life-threatening slow and irregular breathing, termed respiratory depression. Certain people have an increased risk for respiratory depression with Suboxone, including older adults, people who already have breathing problems, and people who are taking certain other medications. Signs of respiratory depression include:


    • Extreme drowsiness
    • Unresponsiveness
    • Infrequent, deep sighing breaths
    • Unusual snoring.
  • Suboxone is designed to treat opioid dependence. If you use Suboxone while you are still taking opioids, Suboxone might cause withdrawal symptoms. This is because Suboxone contains naloxone, a drug that binds to and blocks opioid receptors in the body. If you abuse Suboxone by injection and you are still taking other opioids, intense withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur (see Can You Shoot Up Suboxone?).
  • Suboxone is a narcotic medication with a significant potential for abuse. Do not take the drug more frequently or at a higher dose than prescribed. If you feel you may be developing a problem with Suboxone abuse, please seek help from a healthcare provider.
  • There have been reports of liver damage in people taking Suboxone. To monitor for this problem, your healthcare provider should check your liver enzymes using a simple blood test before you start this medication and periodically thereafter.
  • This drug can cause problems in people with head injuries or high intracranial pressure. It should only be used with extreme caution in such circumstances.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Suboxone affects you. Suboxone can make you drowsy. Your reflexes and reaction times may be significantly affected, even if you feel fine.
  • This medicine should be used with caution in people with low blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder problems, or pancreatic disease. Check with your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you have any of these conditions.
  • Do not drink alcohol while using this medication. Consuming alcohol with Suboxone use could increase your risk for serious side effects, including extreme drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, or difficulty breathing.
  • Suboxone passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Suboxone and Breastfeeding).
  • Suboxone is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Suboxone and Pregnancy).
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