Subutex is a prescription medication that’s available to help people who are addicted to opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers. The following provides an overview of Subutex is, what the Subutex side effects are, and what any possible long-term side effects of using Subutex can be.

What is Subutex?

Subutex is a prescription medication that’s available to help people overcome their addiction and physical dependence to opioids. It’s approved by the FDA as a treatment for opioid dependence, and it tends to have fewer risks and side effects than methadone.

The active ingredient in Subutex is something called buprenorphine, and the generic name for Subutex is the buprenorphine sublingual tablet. Subutex sublingual tablets are designed to melt under the tongue of the user, so they shouldn’t be chewed or used any other way aside from that.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it occupies the same receptors as an opioid like let’s say oxycodone, but it doesn’t create a euphoric high. What it does do, however, is eliminate withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone is physically dependent on opioids, and they stop taking them.

When withdrawal symptoms are alleviated, it can help people addicted to these drugs focus on their recovery, and reduce their risk of relapse.

Subutex Side Effects

Of course, there’s really no medication that’s without some side effects, and it’s important to have an understanding of Subutex side effects before using it.

First, when someone takes Subutex, they won’t feel a euphoric high, but they may experience some feelings of well-being which are pleasant. When Subutex is taken as directed, it has a relatively low potential for abuse, and it can not only suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms but also decrease cravings for opioids. It also blocks the effects of other opioids.

Some of the common short-term Subutex side effects can include constipation, back pain, hoarseness of the voice, headache, nausea, painful urination, sleep problems or vomiting. Some of the less common but still possible Subutex side effects include diarrhea, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, flushing of the skin or sweating.

Some of the psychiatric Subutex side effects that may occur include insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

In rare cases, severe Subutex side effects can include problems breathing, blurry vision, confusion, shallow breathing, or unusual feelings of tiredness or weakness.

An overdose of Subutex is theoretically possible as well, although not incredibly common. It would usually occur if this drug were combined with something else that depresses the central nervous system, such as alcohol or large amounts of benzodiazepines.

Subutex Long-Term Side Effects

Are there Subutex long-term side effects to be aware of?

First and foremost, Subutex isn’t intended as a long-term treatment option for opioid dependence. Although it may occasionally be used as a maintenance treatment, it’s better suited to short-term use. Over time you can become physically dependent on Subutex, as you would with other opioids.

Some of the possible Subutex long-term side effects can be similar to the use of opioids in other ways as well. For example, people who use Subutex in the long-term may experience fatigue and insomnia. It’s important that if you do use Subutex you do so as instructed by a certified physician, and also that you follow a tapering schedule when it’s time to stop using it so that you can avoid the side effects and possible risks.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.