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How to take Suboxone: Proper Ways To Use Suboxone

Author: Kevin Olsen

Last Updated: 10/25/2022

Suboxone belongs to a class of drugs called opioid antagonists and is composed of two medications. These medications are buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is useful for treating opioid and alcohol dependency. The recommended target dosage of Suboxone is 16mg/4 mg daily. There are also many side effects to taking this medication. Some of them include dizziness, headaches, anxiety, depression, or back pain. 

Suboxone is also a flexible medication. You can take it in capsule form with the powder inside, as a regular tablet, or as a tablet form using sublingual. To take medication sublingual means to allow it to fully melt and dissolve underneath your tongue. This is one of the most effective methods as it most quickly absorbs into your bloodstream and takes effect.

Below are the steps to take Suboxone.

1. Keep the Tablets Somewhere Cold and Dry.

It is important to store Suboxone at or around room temperature and away from moisture as that can ruin the medicine. Failing to do this will cause you not to get the full effect of the medication when you take it. 

Good places to store Suboxone include kitchens and bedrooms. Bathrooms are not a good place to store Suboxone because of the damp atmosphere that’s created by bathing. Studies from the CDC show that leaving medication in wrong place will cause it to become less effective.

2. Eat 15 to 30 Min Before Taking the Suboxone Tablet

It is highly recommended that you eat a full meal about 15 to 30 minutes before taking Suboxone. Eating does not affect the taking of the medication as it is dissolved under your tongue, but a side effect is loss of appetite and if you eat beforehand you will not need to worry if you lose your appetite.

3. Make Sure There is No Food in Your Mouth Before Taking Your Medication.

Eating before or after does not affect how quickly or slowly absorbing the medicine into your blood takes. That said, it’s important to not have food in your mouth while taking the tablet because the food in your mouth impacts how much medicine is absorbed. 

To get the full effect of the medication it’s important to not have any food in your mouth when taking the pill. So, avoid eating before taking Suboxone.

4. It May be Beneficial to Wet Your Mouth with Some Water to Aid in its Dissolution

Wetting your mouth and under your tongue with a small amount of water can aid in the ability to dissolve the Suboxone tablet. It is, however, important to not have a lot of water in your mouth. This is due to the same reason as not having food in your mouth. 

Having too much water can affect the amount of Suboxone you absorb and how fast it happens. By just applying a small amount of water in your mouth you will aid in having the tablet absorb faster and more efficiently into your system.

Other guidelines about medication from the National Society of Drug Use and Health suggest that too little or too much water is a problem.

5. Place the Tablet Beneath Your Tongue and Hold it There Until You are Ready to Take your Medication

The main, and most beneficial way, to take Suboxone is to place the tablet underneath your tongue and allow it to dissolve. It will dissolve directly into your blood rather than pass through your stomach and other organs. Avoid swallowing the Suboxone quickly to maximize the medications effectiveness.

6. Once the Tablet has Dissolved Completely, Try to Avoid Talking or Moving It

When you take Suboxone and it dissolves under your tongue it will leave a powdery dust. It’s important to not move or remove this dust as it’s still the medication and may take a few minutes to fully absorb. 

Removing this dust may prevent you from getting the full effect of the medication. It is also important to not drink water to wash this dust down to your stomach as you want it to absorb under your tongue fully.

7. Wait 2 or 5 Minutes to Dissolve the Suboxone Tablet 

When taking Suboxone it takes time to dissolve in the mouth. Waiting for between two and five minutes is the best way to maximize the amount of Suboxone that’s absorbed in the body. Swallowing Suboxone prematurely results in less effective medication.

8. Avoid Chewing, Sucking, or Swallowing the Suboxone Tablet 

Suboxone is not a medication you can chew or swallow. Instead, it’s an oral medication that needs to dissolve in your mouth. Therefore, it’s best to let Suboxone dissolve in your mouth for two to five minutes. Chewing or swallowing Suboxone reduces its effectiveness.

9. Spit Out any Excess Saliva or Consume it Once the Tablet has Completely Dissolved 

Once Suboxone is completely dissolved it’s time to remove the excess saliva that’s in your mouth. Letting tablets dissolve results in excess saliva and it may cause discomfort. To remove saliva from your mouth, spit into a sink or swallow it. When swallowing saliva or spitting it out after taking Suboxone, it might take a few attempts to clear your mouth.

10. After Taking the Tablet Wait 5 Minutes Before Drinking Water or Eating

Suboxone may take up to five minutes to fully dissolve. So, make sure you avoid eating before the medication dissolves. Eating right after taking Suboxone reduces its effectiveness and alters the taste of your meal.

11. The Effect of the Suboxone Tablet will Start 10 to 30 Minutes

Once you take Suboxone the effects will begin to work after about 10 minutes. The full effects of Suboxone happen after about 30 minutes. This is important to note as if you only wait about 5 minutes or so you do not want to take another dosage as this could be very bad to double dose. The recommended dosage of Suboxone is 16mg/4 mg daily.

What to Know Before Taking Suboxone?

There are some precautions you should know about before taking Suboxone. Firstly, it is possible to be allergic to this medication and if you have any worries about this you should speak to your doctor and see an allergist. There are severe side effects if you are allergic such as rashes, itchiness, and even being left in a comatose state. The other main precaution to take is that you should never take this medication when under the age of at least 16 years old. This is due to the effects it can have on the still-developing body and brain.

What is the Type of Suboxone Medicine?

While there are many name brands of this medication, Suboxone, Belbuca, and Zubsolv among many others. All of these Suboxone medications are the same. They are used for opioid and alcohol dependencies and help with withdrawal symptoms as well. These medications are also taken the same way.

What is the Best Time to Take Suboxone?

The best time to take Suboxone is in the morning as soon as you wake up or shortly after waking up. This is because it may take a little bit of time for withdrawal symptoms to set in after you wake up and taking Suboxone before they set in can help to make sure they never do. Studies published in the Library of Medicine prove that Suboxone has the maximum effect for alcoholism treatment in the morning.

What Medicine Should I Avoid Before Drinking Suboxone?

When taking Suboxone it’s important to avoid taking certain medications while already taking Suboxone as those other medications can enhance the effects of Suboxone or reduce their effects. Besides this, they can also cause other health risks such as heart or breathing issues and put you into a comatose state or even death. 

You should avoid any sedative or any medication that causes drowsiness. It’s also a good idea to avoid taking any benzodiazepines such as Valium as they cause a severe loss of judgment.

Here is a list of some of the main medications you want to avoid when taking Suboxone.

  • Benzodiazepines
  • St. John’s Wort, an herbal medication used as an antidepressant 
  • Biaxin: an antibiotic
  • Diflucan: an antifungal medication
  • Norvir: an HIV medication
  • Crixivan: another HIV medication
  • Phenobarbital: a medication for seizures
  • Tegretol: another medication for seizures
  • Rifadin: a treatment for Tuberculosis
  • Vivitrol: a medication containing Naltrexone

These are some of the most important medications you will want to avoid while taking Suboxone but for a full list you will want to consult with your doctor.

What are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone has many side effects and they range in their severity. They can be common and easily taken care of or rare and you may need to go to the hospital if you experience them.

We list the side effects of Suboxone below.

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tongue pain
  • Constipation
  • Backed pain
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Tingling
  • Drowsiness

These are only some of the side effects of Suboxone.

How Long Do Suboxone Side Effects Last?

The side effects caused by Suboxone should only last between 24 and 48 hours and no longer than 72 hours. If you experience symptoms of these side effects past 72 hours you should consult a doctor or visit a hospital. There are some things you can do to help with certain side effects. Before taking any medication such as Advil for headaches or pain you should consult a doctor. 

You can eat a high-fiber diet to help with constipation. When you experience nausea or vomiting you should eat 30 to 60 minutes before taking the medication and then stay hydrated throughout the day. You should also avoid any rigorous physical activities throughout the day as well. Every side effect will come with its ways to try to lessen or avoid them but the most important things to do are to stay hydrated at all times, eat a healthy diet, avoid any other medication when possible, and never drink alcohol while taking Suboxone.

Are Suboxone and Naloxone the Same Thing?

No, Suboxone and Naloxone are not the same things. Naloxone is one part of Suboxone but it also contains another medication that provides other properties. Suboxone is mostly used to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent any overdoses, while Naloxone is used mostly to minimize cravings and any risk of relapse. 

Suboxone does show that it has addictive traits, while Naloxone has shown no history or proof to be an addictive medication. Another difference is that if you stop Naloxone you will not experience any withdrawal symptoms at all. If you stop Suboxone you may experience serious withdrawal symptoms. You should slowly wean off of Suboxone to avoid this.

Is it Safe to Have Coffee When Taking Suboxone?

Yes, it’s safe to consume coffee and other caffeinated beverages while taking Suboxone. Some studies from the CDC show that the crash from your coffee or caffeine may be a little quicker and more intense. Unfortunately, this makes you fatigue faster than normal.

Is it Safe to Have Alcohol When Taking Suboxone?

No, it is not safe to drink alcohol while taking Suboxone. This should always be avoided at all costs. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication can greatly enhance any side effects you already feel while also opening the door to potential new side effects with more dangers to your health. 

When you feel any need or craving to drink alcohol while taking Suboxone it’s time to check into a rehabilitation center.

Is there Another Name for Suboxone?

Yes, Suboxone is a name-brand medication for a combination of two medicines. There are many other name brands as well such as Butrans, Buprenex, Sublocade, and many others. They may have different names but they all contain the same medication and do the same thing.

Is Eating Necessary While Taking Suboxone?

No, eating is not necessary to take Suboxone. There must be no food in your mouth at the time of taking the medication as it can affect the medical process of Suboxone. However, if you experience loss of appetite try eating about 15 minutes before taking this medication. On the other hand, if you experience nausea as a side effect try eating 30 minutes before taking the medicine to avoid this. You can also eat after the entire medication has fully dissolved with no issues.

Does Suboxone Require a Prescription?

Yes, to take Suboxone you need a prescription from a medical health professional. Suboxone can be a highly addictive medication and has severe side effects. For these reasons, it’s important to get a prescription before taking this medication.