Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Opioid abuse and addiction continue to affect millions of people worldwide. More than 13 million Americans—including children as young as twelve—suffer from opioid use disorder (OUD). Addicts of heroin, oxycodone, and other opioids often rely on a team of professionals and multiple resources to conquer their drug dependence. Some cases require using drugs such as Suboxone or Methadone for treatment. Although some of these prescription medications are effective, they can cause problems, including overdose. 

Myrtle Beach Recovery offers a drug-free, sober living environment to help you or a loved one recover from addiction. Contact us to learn more about our safe residential rehab facilities and how we can support you on your journey to recovery.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a Schedule II prescription medication that reduces cravings for Opioids. People addicted to drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, and other highly addictive substances take Suboxone to help minimize withdrawal symptoms during drug detoxification. It is often continued during recovery to help with craving and withdrawal symptoms. 

Suboxone contains two ingredients: Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Although Buprenorphine is a potent, and addictive opioid that causes less euphoria than other opioids, such as heroin. Its benefit is preventing other Opioids from affecting the brain. This drug action allows addicts to slowly break their addiction by mitigating withdrawal symptoms. 

Naloxone blocks opioids’ effects without causing any euphoria. It also reverses Opioids’ harmful effects on the nervous system. While Naloxone is added to Suboxone to prevent Buprenorphine overdose, it is not without controversy. Some recent studies have caused doubt about its effectiveness in preventing the abuse of Buprenorphine by Opioid addicts. 

What are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone can cause many side effects, including:

  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Gastrointestinal problems.
  • Vomiting.
  • Irregular heart rate.
  • Numb mouth.
  • Back pain.
  • Sweating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Swelling around eyes.
  • Mental health problems.

Suboxone can also cause serious side effects that require immediate medical attention, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Trouble swallowing. 
  • Extreme dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Unusual drowsiness.
  • Difficulty awakening. 

Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Because Suboxone contains the opioid, Buprenorphine, one of its serious risks is overdose. Buprenorphine overdose can cause death, especially if it is:

  • Taken with other medications.
  • Used with illegal drugs, alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers.
  • Used without close medical monitoring.

Several drugs increase the risk of Suboxone overdose, including:

  • Alcohol.
  • Valium, Xanax, and other benzodiazepines.
  • Some hormonal medications.
  • Cocaine.
  • Some antihistamines.
  • St. John’s wort herbal remedy.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Antipsychotics. 
  • Some barbiturates. 

It is critical to get emergency medical treatment for someone to survive a Suboxone overdose. Typically, Naloxone is administered to treat the overdose. However, it only stops the crisis temporarily. Because its half-life is shorter than the opioid, Buprenorphine, Naloxone wears off, and the overdose symptoms can continue. 

Since Suboxone is addictive, healthcare providers often recommend medically assisted detox (MAT) and rehab after an overdose. Additionally, replacement drugs such as Methadone and Suboxone are not recommended for treating opioid addiction after an overdose.

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