IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
BUPRENORPHINE/NALOXONE - SUBLINGUAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Suboxone
USES: This medication contains 2 medicines: buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat narcotic (opioid) dependence/addiction. Buprenorphine belongs to a class of drugs called mixed narcotic agonist-antagonists. Buprenorphine helps prevent withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping other opiate-type narcotics. Naloxone is a narcotic antagonist that blocks the effect of narcotics and can cause severe narcotic withdrawal when injected. It has little effect when taken by mouth or dissolved under the tongue. It is combined with buprenorphine to prevent abuse and misuse (injection) of this medication. This combination medication is used as part of a complete treatment program for drug abuse (such as compliance monitoring, counseling, behavioral contract, lifestyle changes).
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking buprenorphine/naloxone and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Use this medication during your treatment maintenance period as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Place the medication under your tongue for 5 to 10 minutes and let it dissolve completely. If you are prescribed more than one tablet each day, you may place all of the tablets under your tongue at once or place two tablets at a time under your tongue. Do not swallow or chew this medication. It will not work as well. Buprenorphine alone is usually used for the first 2 days after you have stopped all other narcotics. It is usually given in your doctor's office. Your doctor will then switch you to this combination buprenorphine/naloxone medication for maintenance treatment. The combination with naloxone works the same way as buprenorphine alone to prevent withdrawal symptoms. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take the medication more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day. Buprenorphine/naloxone may cause withdrawal symptoms especially if you use it soon after using narcotics such as heroin, morphine, or methadone. Follow your doctor's instructions for your treatment plan. This medication may cause withdrawal reactions if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately. Do not inject ("shoot up") buprenorphine/naloxone. Injecting it is dangerous, and will likely cause severe withdrawal symptoms (see Side Effects section) due to the naloxone in this medication, especially if you have been using narcotics such as heroin, morphine or methadone. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any withdrawal reactions.
SIDE EFFECTS: Drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately. To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (such as a stimulant type with stool softener). To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Severe (possibly fatal) breathing problems can occur if this medication is abused, injected, or mixed with other depressants (such as alcohol, benzodiazepines including diazepam, other narcotics). Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: slow/shallow breathing, fainting, mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), stomach/abdominal pain, unusual drowsiness/difficulty waking up. Although this medication is used to prevent withdrawal reactions, it may rarely cause narcotic withdrawal symptoms, including diarrhea, severe mental/mood changes (such as anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping), muscle stiffness or shakiness. This is more likely when you first start treatment or if you have been using long-acting narcotics such as methadone. If such symptoms occur, notify your doctor or pharmacist immediately. This drug may rarely cause serious liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing eyes/skin, severe stomach/abdominal pain. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: brain disorders (such as head injury, tumor, seizures), breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), liver disease, mental/mood disorders (such as confusion, depression), stomach/intestinal problems (such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus), difficulty urinating (such as due to enlarged prostate). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol also increases your risk for breathing problems. This medicine may contain aspartame. If you have phenylketonuria (PKU) or any other condition that requires you to restrict your intake of aspartame (or phenylalanine), consult your doctor or pharmacist about using this drug safely. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug, especially slow/shallow breathing and drowsiness. Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, use the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as slow/shallow breathing, irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, or diarrhea. This drug passes into breast milk and may rarely have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor immediately if your baby develops unusual sleepiness, difficulty feeding, or trouble breathing. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring. To help your doctor and pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this medication include: narcotic antagonists (such as naltrexone), certain narcotic pain medications (mixed narcotic agonist-antagonists such as butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine). Other medications can affect the removal of buprenorphine from your body, which may affect how buprenorphine works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole), HIV medications (such as ritonavir, saquinavir), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others. The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness, dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also affect breathing or cause drowsiness. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as alcohol, allergy or cough-and-cold products, anti-seizure drugs (such as phenobarbital), medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, other narcotics (such as hydrocodone, oxycodone), and psychiatric medicines (such as risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone). Your medications or doses of your medications may need to be changed. Deaths have occurred when this medication has been misused by injecting it ("shooting up"), especially when used in combination with benzodiazepines (such as diazepam) or other depressants such as alcohol or additional narcotics. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist to lessen your risk for serious medication problems.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: slow breathing, slow heartbeat, loss of consciousness.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law. Tell all of your doctors that you use this medication and have regularly used narcotics, especially in cases of emergency treatment. Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. Make sure close friends and family members know you are taking this medication and can tell emergency personnel. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854- 1166 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised February 2012. Copyright(c) 2012 First Databank, Inc.