What Are the Long Term Effects of Suboxone?

Suboxone was officially approved for use in the early 2000s. Although Suboxone is approved for long term use, not much is known about the overall long term side effects of this drug. It simply has not been around enough to study, but there are a few effects that have presented themselves.

In order to understand the long term side effects of Suboxone, you need to know what it is, what the known long term side effects are, and how Suboxone dependence is treated, thus allowing you to escape a dangerous cycle that puts you at risk of dangerous side effects.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination drug that is used to treat opiate addiction and chronic pain. It contains two medications:

  • Buprenorphine: to control the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and chronic pain
  • Naloxone: to prevent further opiate use and to block opiates from binding to receptor sites

These two medications combined provide a safe, effective way to avoid withdrawal while treating chronic pain. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the buprenorphine is safe for long term use. By long term, they mean weeks, months, or even years.

If you are interested in trying Suboxone or buprenorphine for long term use, call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).

Long Term Effects of Using Suboxone

Long Term Effects of Suboxone

The inability to experience pleasure is a long term effect of Suboxone.

Although long term studies into the side effects of Suboxone are still being develop, there are a few things that are known. Some of the long term side effects are known to mimic those of other opioid drugs, most likely because buprenorphine contains opiates.

Some of these effects are:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of pleasurable sensation under normal circumstances
  • Decreased pain tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Cravings

These are the long term effects that Suboxone and opioid drugs have in common. There are some long term side effects reported that are exclusive to Suboxone.

According to the National Library of Medicine, many users show what is known as a flat affect. This means they do not show or, possibly, feel emotion like those who are not on Suboxone treatment. They also showed a lack of emotional reactivity and seemed less emotionally aware. Some of the other side effects associated with long term Suboxone use are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Loss of feelings of sexual desire

It is unclear whether these symptoms are a byproduct of the original addiction or a long term side effect of the Suboxone. Further study is necessary to determine the full extent of long term Suboxone use.

Is Buprenorphine a Good Methadone Alternative?

Treatment for Suboxone Dependence

The most typical treatment for Suboxone dependence is tapering under a doctor’s supervision. This means being slowly weaned off Suboxone in order to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

A doctor might also decide to switch medications to one that is less likely to cause you problems in the long run. This is only done if you are concerned about your Suboxone dependence and still need treatment.

To find a treatment center to help you with your Suboxone issues or opiate addiction call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?). We can help you find the treatment that you need to feel comfortable again.


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For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit AmericanAddictionCenters.org. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.