Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Suboxone combines buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat opioid addiction, such as narcotic painkillers and heroin. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, meaning it relieves symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it reverses the effects of the narcotics. The drug combination is typically included in a treatment program along with lifestyle changes, counseling, and additional interventions. Taking Suboxone requires extra care because misusing it can be incredibly dangerous and even lead to life-threatening conditions.

Can You Overdose on Suboxone?

Just like any other medication, it is possible to take too much Suboxone and in the case of this medicine, overdosing is very dangerous. The effects of the overdose vary based on the dosage, whether it is combined with other substances and medications, and other factors.

Some of the most common symptoms linked to overdosing on Suboxone include:

  • Floppy, weak muscles
  • Clammy and cold skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Sedation or extreme drowsiness
  • ŸSlower heart rate
  • Breathing issues, including slow and shallow breathing
  • ŸLow blood pressure
  • Unusual snoring

People are more likely to experience serious issues from overdosing on Suboxone if they combine it with other sedatives or alcohol. In most cases, Suboxtone has what is known as a "ceiling effect", something that limits the medication side effects, including in overdose cases. When combined with other medications or alcohol, however, this ceiling can be raised, increasing a patient’s risk of death from overdose. It is most likely that Suboxone will lead to a lethal overdose in those who aren’t used to taking opioids, which is why it is particularly dangerous for children and pets.

Treating an Suboxone Overdose

Now that you know the answer to "can you overdose on Suboxone?" it is time to find out what to do about this. If you think you or someone you know takes too much Suboxone, seek immediate medical attention.

Early treatment will dramatically increase the chances of a successful recovery. Antidotes like naloxone can be used to help counter the overdose. In some cases, naloxone and other antidotes may not be 100 percent effective at reversing dangerous breathing issues linked to a Suboxone overdose. Treatment for an overdose also includes supportive care, such as treating overdose symptoms with intravenous fluids and oxygen.

What's the Dosage of Suboxone?

To avoid an overdose of Suboxone, pay close attention to its dosage information. The most common form of Suboxone, a sublingual film, is intended to be only used by patients of at least 16 years old. Your doctor will let you know the correct dosage for your particular situation.

Every Suboxone sublingual film has both naloxone and buprenorphine. There are several variations of the film.

  • ŸThe Suboxone Sublingual Film 2/0.5 has 2 milligrams of buprenorphine and 0.5 milligrams of naloxone, sometimes known as “2mg film”.
  • ŸThe Suboxone Sublingual Film 4/1 has 4 mg buprenorphine and 1 mg naloxone and is known as “4mg film”.
  • Suboxone Sublingual Film 8/2 has 8 mg and 2 mg of the medications respectively, known as “8mg film”.
  • ŸFinally, the Suboxone Sublingual Film 12/3 has 12 mg buprenorphine and 3 mg naloxone and is the “12mg film”.

The typical starting dose of Suboxone is a 4 mg film with a possible extra 4 mg based on your needs and prescribed by your doctor.

Those who are still on short-acting opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, or heroin should take their first dose when their first symptoms of a craving occur or a minimum of 6 hours following the last opioid use.

If you are taking methadone, your doctor will most likely reduce your dosage of that medication to no more than 30 milligrams a day before starting Suboxone. Your first Suboxone dose is preferably taken when you first notice signs of cravings and a minimum of 24 hours following your final methadone dose. Taking Suboxone too soon following an illicit opioid or methadone may lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Depending on how you respond to treatment, your doctor may increase your Suboxone dosage to a maximum of 32 milligrams a day. Your doctor will gradually reduce your dose following successful treatment. In some cases, your dose may be continuously reduced with careful medical supervision before being completely stopped. Never stop taking Suboxone suddenly since this can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

If you ever miss a Suboxone dose, take it right away. If, however, you are almost due to take your next dose, you should skip your missed one. Never double up on the doses and ask your doctor if you have questions.

Precautions for Safer Suboxone Use

In addition to knowing the answer to "can you overdose on Suboxone?" you should be aware of the safety precautions.

  • Don’t take Suboxone if you have an allergy to naloxone or buprenorphine.
  • It is possible to abuse Suboxone just like other opioids.
  • ŸSuboxone contains buprenorphine which is an opioid that leads to physical dependence when used chronically. This isn’t the same as addiction and your doctor can explain the difference.
  • You should not take any other medications while on Suboxone without specific instructions from your doctor.
  • If you aren’t opioid dependent, taking Suboxone can cause death.
  • Many doctors monitor liver function during and before treatment.
  • Those with severe hepatic impairment shouldn’t take Suboxone and those with moderate impairments should use it with caution.
  • Can you overdose on Suboxone? No, it's very dangerous. So don’t let children or pets reach the medication.
  • Don’t take Suboxone while experiencing effects of other opioids since this may lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Injection may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms like cramps, pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sleep problems, cravings, and anxiety.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Do the same if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed since ingredients may pass through the breast milk and negatively affect your child.
  • Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you are sure how Suboxone impacts you.
  • Be aware of common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache, constipation, numb or red mouth, painful tongue, disturbance in attention, intoxication, sleep decrease, irregular heartbeat, back pain, sleepiness, dizziness, and blurred vision.
 
 
Current time: 12/13/2017 09:43:04 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 1730.67KB