Can Subutex Make You Sick? Discover the Potential Side Effects13 min read

Welcome to an insightful exploration of Subutex and its potential impact on your health. If you’re considering or currently using Subutex as a medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence, it’s crucial to be aware of its possible side effects. In this article, we’ll delve into various aspects related to Subutex use and how it might affect your well-being.

  • Understanding Subutex: Learn about the purpose and role of Subutex as a medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.
  • Possible Side Effects: Discover the common side effects associated with Subutex use.
  • Managing Side Effects: Find out how to handle and alleviate potential adverse reactions.
  • Precautions and Warnings: Explore important precautions and potential drug interactions with Subutex.
  • Overdose Risks: Understand the signs of overdose and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Seeking Medical Advice: Learn the importance of consulting healthcare professionals for personalized care.

Understanding Subutex

Subutex, a brand name for buprenorphine, is commonly used as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals with opioid dependence. Unlike some opioids, Subutex is a partial opioid agonist, which means it produces milder opioid effects, reducing the risk of misuse and addiction. Its primary purpose is to help people manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, allowing them to focus on their recovery journey.

Possible Side Effects

While Subutex can be an effective treatment, it may come with certain side effects. Nausea and vomiting are commonly reported adverse reactions, which can be distressing for some individuals. Headaches and dizziness may also occur during the initial phase of treatment. Moreover, constipation is a frequent concern, which may necessitate lifestyle adjustments and dietary changes. Blurred vision is another potential side effect that may require medical attention if persistent.

Managing Nausea and Vomiting

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, which can worsen nausea.
  • Eat Light Meals: Opt for small, frequent meals to ease digestion and minimize nausea.
  • Avoid Triggering Foods: Identify and avoid foods that worsen nausea in your case.
  • Discuss Medication Adjustment: Consult your healthcare provider about adjusting your Subutex dosage to reduce nausea.

Dealing with Constipation

  • Increase Fiber Intake: Include fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
  • Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity to promote bowel movements.
  • Use Laxatives with Caution: If needed, consult a healthcare professional before using laxatives to avoid potential complications.
  • Stay Patient: Constipation may improve with time as your body adjusts to the medication.

Headache and Dizziness: Coping with Subutex Side Effects

The Impact of Subutex on Headaches and Dizziness

Headaches and dizziness are potential side effects of Subutex use, especially during the initial stages of treatment. These sensations can be unsettling, but it’s essential to understand their underlying cause and how to manage them effectively.

Understanding the Mechanism

Headaches and dizziness with Subutex use may result from the medication’s interaction with opioid receptors in the brain. These symptoms are often transient and tend to improve as the body adjusts to the medication.

Managing Headache and Dizziness

  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can exacerbate headaches, so drink an adequate amount of water daily.
  • Rest and Relaxation: Ensure you get enough rest and avoid stressful situations to reduce the frequency of headaches and dizziness.
  • Over-the-counter Pain Relievers: If appropriate, your healthcare provider may recommend certain pain relievers to alleviate headaches.
  • Balance Movements: Avoid sudden movements and stand up slowly to prevent dizziness.

Allergic Reactions: Identifying and Responding to Signs

Recognizing Allergic Reactions to Subutex

While allergic reactions to Subutex are rare, it’s crucial to be vigilant for any signs of an allergic response. Immediate medical attention is necessary if an allergy is suspected.

Common Allergic Symptoms

Allergic reactions may manifest as a skin rash, itching, hives, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. In severe cases, difficulty breathing may occur, requiring immediate emergency assistance.

What to Do in Case of Allergic Reaction

  • Stop Subutex Use: Discontinue Subutex if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Seek Medical Help: Contact your healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room if you suspect an allergy.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Make sure to inform other healthcare providers about the allergic reaction before starting any new medications.
  • Allergy Testing: Your healthcare provider may recommend allergy testing to identify specific triggers.

Adjusting Dosage: Finding the Right Balance

Individualized Dosage Considerations

The appropriate Subutex dosage varies for each person based on factors such as their opioid dependence severity, medical history, and response to treatment.

Reasons for Dosage Adjustment

Dosage adjustment may be necessary if you experience significant side effects or if the current dose is insufficient in managing opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Working with Healthcare Providers

  • Regular Monitoring: Your healthcare provider will monitor your progress and may adjust the dosage accordingly.
  • Open Communication: Share any concerns or side effects you experience to facilitate dose optimization.
  • Gradual Changes: Dosage adjustments are usually made gradually to minimize potential withdrawal symptoms or adverse effects.
  • Follow Medical Guidance: Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding dosage changes.

Precautions and Warnings with Subutex

Importance of Medical History and Allergies

Informing your healthcare provider about your complete medical history and any known allergies is crucial to ensure safe and effective Subutex use.

Potential Drug Interactions

Certain medications may interact with Subutex, leading to adverse effects or reducing its effectiveness in treating opioid dependence.

Minimizing Risks from Drug Interactions

  • Medication Review: Provide a list of all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to your healthcare provider.
  • Pharmacist Consultation: Consult with a pharmacist to check for potential drug interactions before starting new medications.
  • Monitoring and Adjustments: Healthcare providers may need to adjust your Subutex dosage if drug interactions are identified.
  • Alerting Other Healthcare Providers: Inform other medical professionals about your Subutex use when receiving additional treatments or undergoing surgery.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Considerations

Addressing Substance Abuse History

Individuals with a history of substance abuse face unique challenges when using Subutex. It’s essential to discuss this history with your healthcare provider for tailored treatment.

Safe Use in Recovery

Subutex can be a helpful tool in the recovery process, but it requires responsible use and adherence to treatment plans to avoid potential relapse.

Tips for Safe Use

  • Structured Treatment Programs: Engage in comprehensive treatment programs that include counseling and support groups.
  • Accountability: Involve friends or family members to provide support and keep you accountable in your recovery journey.
  • Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid triggers that may lead to substance use or relapse.
  • Professional Guidance: Work closely with healthcare professionals to manage Subutex use and recovery effectively.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Considerations

Subutex Use During Pregnancy

Pregnant individuals considering Subutex treatment should weigh the potential benefits against the risks to make informed decisions.

Impact on Breastfeeding

Subutex can pass into breast milk, potentially affecting the nursing infant. Healthcare providers can guide on the best course of action.

Consulting Healthcare Providers

  • Prenatal Care: Seek prenatal care to ensure a healthy pregnancy and discuss Subutex use with your obstetrician.
  • Risks and Benefits: Understand the risks and benefits of Subutex use during pregnancy to make informed choices.
  • Alternative Treatments: Explore alternative treatment options if Subutex is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Safe Breastfeeding Practices: If breastfeeding while on Subutex, follow healthcare provider instructions to ensure the infant’s safety.

Recognizing Signs of Overdose

Understanding Overdose Risks

While Subutex is considered safer than full opioid agonists, there is still a risk of overdose, especially if misused or combined with other substances.

Common Overdose Symptoms

Signs of Subutex overdose may include extreme drowsiness, slowed or stopped breathing, unconsciousness, and pinpoint pupils.

Immediate Actions in Suspected Overdose

  • Call for Emergency Help: If you suspect an overdose, call emergency services immediately.
  • Administer Naloxone: If available, administer naloxone as directed and seek medical attention.
  • Provide Support: Stay with the person, monitor their breathing, and keep them awake until help arrives.
  • Inform Medical Personnel: Inform medical personnel about Subutex use and any other substances taken.

Consulting Healthcare Providers

Importance of Open Communication

To ensure safe and effective Subutex use, maintaining open communication with healthcare providers is crucial.

Addressing Concerns and Questions

Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns, questions, or side effects with your healthcare provider to receive appropriate guidance.

Building a Trusting Relationship

  • Honesty: Be honest about your medical history, substance use, and any concerns you may have.
  • Seeking Clarifications: If anything about Subutex use is unclear, ask for clarifications to make informed decisions.
  • Collaborative Decision-Making: Work together with your healthcare provider to create a treatment plan that suits your needs.
  • Regular Check-Ins: Attend follow-up appointments as recommended to monitor progress and address any issues.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

Informed Decision-Making

When considering Subutex as a medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence, it’s essential to be aware of its potential side effects and interactions. By staying informed and working closely with healthcare providers, you can make informed decisions about your treatment plan.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Never hesitate to reach out to healthcare providers with any questions, concerns, or unusual side effects you may experience. They can offer personalized advice and support throughout your Subutex journey.

Key Points to Remember

  • Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, constipation, and blurred vision are common side effects of Subutex use.
  • Allergic Reactions: Monitor for signs of allergic reactions, such as skin rash, itching, hives, or swelling.
  • Dosage Adjustment: Work with healthcare providers to find the right dosage that balances effectiveness and minimal side effects.
  • Substance Abuse History: Individuals with a history of substance abuse should carefully consider Subutex use and engage in comprehensive treatment programs.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Discuss Subutex use during pregnancy and breastfeeding with healthcare providers to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.
  • Recognizing Overdose: Learn to recognize the signs of Subutex overdose and take immediate actions in emergencies.
  • Open Communication: Maintain open communication with healthcare providers to receive personalized care and support.
  • Informed Decision: Make well-informed decisions about Subutex use by weighing the risks and benefits.

Combating Nausea and Vomiting: Strategies for Relief

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of Subutex use, but several strategies can help alleviate these symptoms. Staying hydrated and consuming light meals can reduce the severity of nausea. If nausea persists, over-the-counter antiemetics or medications can provide relief. However, it’s essential to consult healthcare providers before taking additional medications to ensure they won’t interact negatively with Subutex.

Identifying Triggers

Understanding the factors that trigger nausea and vomiting can help in managing these side effects effectively. Keeping a journal to track food intake, daily activities, and Subutex administration times can assist in identifying potential triggers.

Useful Tips for Relief

  • Ginger: Ginger, in the form of ginger tea or ginger candies, has been known to alleviate nausea.
  • Aromatherapy: Inhaling scents like peppermint or lemon may help reduce nausea.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises can ease feelings of nausea.
  • Acupressure: Applying pressure to specific points on the body, such as the wrist, may relieve nausea.

Dealing with Constipation: Improving Bowel Movements

Constipation is a common side effect of Subutex use due to its impact on the gastrointestinal system. To alleviate constipation, increasing dietary fiber intake can promote regular bowel movements. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. Drinking plenty of water and staying physically active can also help prevent constipation.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

If dietary and lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient, over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners may be considered. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before using any over-the-counter remedies to ensure their safety and compatibility with Subutex.

Preventing Constipation

  • Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to keep stools soft and prevent constipation.
  • Gradual Changes: Make dietary and lifestyle changes gradually to allow your body to adjust.
  • Regular Toilet Habits: Establish a regular toilet routine and take your time when using the bathroom.

Blurred Vision: Temporary Visual Disturbances

Blurred vision can occur as a transient side effect of Subutex use. If you experience blurred vision, it’s essential to determine whether it’s a side effect of the medication or potentially caused by other factors.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most cases of blurred vision with Subutex are temporary, if it persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider.

Addressing Blurred Vision

  • Temporary Effects: Blurred vision with Subutex is often temporary and improves over time.
  • Eye Exams: Regular eye exams can help identify any underlying vision issues.
  • Communication: Inform your healthcare provider about any visual disturbances you experience.
  • Eye Protection: If blurred vision affects daily activities, take precautions, such as wearing glasses.

Immediate Actions in Case of Overdose

Recognizing the signs of a Subutex overdose is crucial for prompt intervention. If you suspect an overdose, immediate action is necessary to save a life.

Call Emergency Services

If you or someone else shows signs of a Subutex overdose, do not hesitate to call emergency services immediately. Time is of the essence in these situations.

Stay with the Person

  • Keep the Person Awake: If the person is conscious, keep them awake and engaged.
  • Monitor Breathing: Keep an eye on their breathing and be prepared to perform CPR if needed.
  • Administer Naloxone: If available and instructed by emergency personnel, administer naloxone to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.
  • Stay Calm: Remaining calm and focused can help ensure the best possible outcome.


In conclusion, Subutex can be a valuable medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid dependence. However, it is crucial to be aware of its potential side effects and take appropriate precautions. Regular communication with healthcare providers and informed decision-making are key to managing Subutex use effectively and safely. By following medical guidance and seeking support, individuals can enhance their recovery journey and improve their overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can Subutex make you feel sick?

Yes, Subutex can cause nausea and vomiting as common side effects. If you experience these symptoms, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider for guidance on managing them effectively.

2. Is Subutex safe for pregnant women?

The safety of Subutex during pregnancy depends on individual circumstances. Healthcare providers can assess the risks and benefits and work with pregnant women to determine the most suitable treatment plan.

3. What should I do if I miss a dose of Subutex?

If you miss a dose of Subutex, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for the next dose. Never double the dose to catch up. Consult your healthcare provider for further instructions.

4. Can I drive while using Subutex?

Subutex may cause drowsiness or dizziness in some individuals. If you experience these effects, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how the medication affects you.

5. Does Subutex interact with other medications?

Subutex may interact with certain medications, including other opioids and central nervous system depressants. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking to avoid potential drug interactions.

6. Can Subutex be used long-term?

Subutex can be used long-term as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for opioid dependence. However, the duration of treatment varies for each individual and depends on their specific needs and progress.

7. How can I prevent constipation while taking Subutex?

To prevent constipation, increase fiber intake, drink plenty of water, and engage in regular physical activity. If constipation persists, consult your healthcare provider for additional recommendations.

8. Can I abruptly stop taking Subutex?

Abruptly stopping Subutex can lead to withdrawal symptoms. It is essential to work with your healthcare provider to gradually reduce the dosage when discontinuing Subutex.

9. Can Subutex be taken with other medications for mental health conditions?

Subutex may interact with medications used to treat mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. Always inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking to ensure safe and effective treatment.

10. Is Subutex effective in treating opioid addiction?

Yes, Subutex can be effective in treating opioid addiction when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. It helps manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, making it easier for individuals to focus on recovery.