How Suboxone Works

Suboxone comes in a thin film that you place under your tongue causing it to dissolve. Suboxone is taken by mouth and dissolved under the tongue. The medicine gets absorbed through the mucosal lining and spreads through the bloodstream to bind to opiate receptors, relieving opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone is a slow onset and fairly long-lasting opiate compound. This helps it provide sustained relief from withdrawal symptoms. Anyone on Suboxone can have a normal life and not have to worry about constantly taking opiates to prevent a debilitating withdrawal syndrome.

Buprenorphine is an opioid medicine with a maximal effect that is less than the effect produced by other opiate drugs. At low doses, buprenorphine produces just enough effects to enable an individual to quit using opioids without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine also has a “ceiling effect,” which means that higher doses quickly reach a plateau in their effects. Hence, buprenorphine carries lower risks of abuse or addiction. It also has lower side effects than other opiates. In fact, in high doses, buprenorphine will block the effects of other opioids and can even precipitate withdrawal.

Because of its ceiling effect, Suboxone is safer in overdose than opioids.

The maximal effects of buprenorphine appear in 16–32 mg dose range.

Respiratory depression from Suboxone overdose is less likely than from other opioids. There is no evidence of organ damage or cognitive decline with chronic use of Suboxone.

Suboxone is classified by the FDA as Pregnancy Category C and is not safe in pregnancy.

Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to decrease the likelihood of diversion and abuse of the combination medicine.

Stopping Suboxone needs to be a gradual taper under medical guidance, else there is risk of a withdrawal syndrome. Most of the time, a 4 to 6 week period is sufficient for a slow tapering of the medicine.

Suboxone is highly effective and has been used successfully for opiate withdrawal for over a decade.

Side effects of Suboxone include nausea, vomiting, constipation and precipitation of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Mood changes, including irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches and muscle cramps
  • Excessive tearing in the eyes
  • Excessive nasal secretions
  • Sweating
  • Goose bumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Yawning
  • Fever
  • Sleeplessness
  • Craving


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How Can I Get Suboxone?

Suboxone may only be prescribed by physicians authorized to do so under a federal program.  Suboxone doctors need to have undergone special training in the buprenorphine treatment of opioid dependency. The best way to find medical doctors who have been approved to write prescriptions for Suboxone is through the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website:

There are other paid listings on “locator” websites that may promote one doctor over another based on their mutual agreement. It is best to call the medical office to find out all the details before actually going to one.

SUBOXONE sublingual film comes as an orange rectangular film supplied in four dose strengths:

  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 2 mg/0.5 mg film
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 4 mg/1 mg film
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 8 mg/2 mg film
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 12 mg/3 mg film

SUBUTEX sublingual tablet comes in two dose strengths:

  • Buprenorphine 2 mg
  • Buprenorphine 8 mg

ZUBSOLV sublingual tablet comes in two dose strengths:

  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 1.4 mg/0.36 mg
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 5.7 mg/1.4 mg

BUNAVAIL buccal film comes as a yellow rectangular buccal film in three dose strengths:

  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 2.1 mg / 0.3 mg Film
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 4.2 mg / 0.7 mg Film
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone 6.3 mg / 1 mg Film

It is best to refer to the manufacturer websites for up-to-date comprehensive listings of drug interactions, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

The best and most up-to-date information is available on the following manufacturer’s websites:

Suboxone Website

ZubSolv Website

BTOD Rems Medication Guide

Affordable Suboxone® Treatment Program In Long Island And NYC

We welcome your call about our Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) treatment program and will be happy to answer any questions you have. Call our office at (917) 310-3371. We are open 7 days a week, including holidays.

If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact Sharad Suri at or by phone at (917) 310-3371 Extension 288.

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