Suboxone blocks the painful symptoms of withdrawal from heroin, oxycodone, and other opioid pain relievers. It is used more often for addiction treatment than methadone, which can be habit-forming.
Knowing how to take Suboxone is essential to getting relief from withdrawal symptoms from heroin, oxycodone, and other opioid pain relievers.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone film is a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine, and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a drug in the same class as heroin, but it doesn’t give you the same feeling of euphoria when you take it. Doctors prescribe buprenorphine to prevent withdrawal symptoms when addicts are coming off heroin and other opioid drugs. Buprenorphine by itself is available as a drug with the trade name Subutex.
Naloxone blocks the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs when it is injected. Injected naloxone results in instant withdrawal symptoms. It’s added to buprenorphine to keep users from injecting it. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is marketed as Suboxone.
How do you take Suboxone?
Suboxone is a sublingual medication. This means that you put it under your tongue so it can be absorbed through the veins under your tongue.
One of the most important steps in how to take Suboxone is to moisten your mouth by drinking water (just a little, like a quarter of a cup, is enough) before you take Suboxone. This helps the Suboxone film stay in contact with the base of your tongue so more of the medication is absorbed into your bloodstream.
You open the Suboxone package by folding along the dotted line and tearing down the side of the package. If you have difficulty tearing the package open, you can cut along the arrow at the side of the package with scissors. Making sure your hands are clean and dry, remove the Suboxone film from the package, holding it with two fingers.
If your prescribed dosage is one Suboxone film, place it under either the left or right side of your tongue close to the base of your tongue. If your prescription is for two Suboxone films, place one film under either side of your tongue, close to the base of your tongue. If your prescribed dosage is three Suboxone films, follow the instructions for two pieces of film and repeat for the third.
Don’t let the Suboxone films overlap each other. Look in a mirror as you place the films to be sure you are getting them under your tongue and near the base of your tongue.
The next step is to keep the Suboxone films under your tongue until they are completely dissolved. Don’t eat or drink while the films are dissolving, and don’t talk — talking dislodges the films. Don’t swallow while the medicine is dissolving. If the films dissolve in your mouth instead of under your tongue, the medicine won’t do you any good.
Suboxone is not something you take “when you feel like it.” It is important to take it in the amounts and at the time your doctor prescribes.
What else do you need to know about how to take Suboxone?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has permitted doctors to prescribe more Suboxone so patients make fewer trips to the pharmacy, but a secret shopper survey found that one-third of pharmacies don’t counsel patients on how to take Suboxone. These developments make knowing how to use Suboxone even more important.
The most important thing to know about Suboxone film is that using it can be fatal for children. It’s essential to keep Suboxone film out of sight of any children in your home in a secure location where they cannot find it. It’s also a good idea to keep your Suboxone where visitors to your home, especially if they have drug issues, cannot find it.
Overdosing Suboxone can slow down breathing. It’s important to get transported to an ER if your breathing gets much slower than is normal for you after taking Suboxone, or if you feel dizzy, confused, or faint after taking Suboxone.
It’s also important to get transportation to the ER right away if after taking Suboxone you:
- Feel uncoordinated or sleepy.
- Have slurred speech.
- Have a blurry vision.
- Cannot think clearly.
Call 911 or have a family member call 911 if you experience these symptoms after taking Suboxone.
Suboxone is never to be taken by injection. As we mentioned earlier, injecting Suboxone can give you immediate withdrawal symptoms. And Suboxone is not something you take “when you feel like it.” It is important to take Suboxone in the amounts and at the time your doctor prescribes.
Knowing how to take Suboxone is essential to getting relief from withdrawal symptoms. If you don’t understand how to properly take Suboxone, seek medical advice.
Have you or a loved one used Suboxone?
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