Suboxone strips are used for the FDA-approved indication of opioid use disorder (OUD). They help limit cravings and symptoms of withdrawal in individuals dependent on opioids. In addition, Suboxone strips or films are used off-label for the management of chronic pain in certain patients.
Suboxone primarily comes in two forms: strips (films) and tablets (pills). Suboxone strips are dissolvable strips that contain a combination of two medications: the opioids “buprenorphine” and “naloxone”. The strips/films can be administered sublingually (under the tongue) or buccally (inside the cheek) where they rapidly dissolve.
Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) can also be taken in tablet/pill form, which you can learn more about here: How to Take Suboxone Tablets.
Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is best absorbed under the tongue or sometimes inside the cheek because it is more “bioavailable”. This means that more of the medication can enter the system by dissolving through the tissues of the mouth than it can by being digested in our acidic stomachs.
Because most patients are used to swallowing pills, starting to take a sublingual film or tablet can take some getting used to. This article will walk you through exactly how to administer a Suboxone strip.
The two forms of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), strips (films) and tablets, both work equally well to treat opioid use disorder. Oftentimes, a patient will receive either the strip or the tablet depending on what their local pharmacy has available or what their insurance plan will cover. The strips are probably the most common form available and are usually what patients start with.
There are some subtle differences between the two formulations. Some patients feel that either the strips or tablets have a less bitter taste and might prefer one over the other for that reason.
On average, the tablets take slightly longer to dissolve than the strips. However, both formulations work equally well when administered properly. If you have tried one or the other and prefer to try a different formulation, talk to your doctor.
Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) strips come in packets. The strip itself is in the form of a yellow rectangle.
Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) strips come in different doses. The smallest strips are usually 2 mg and the largest is usually 12 mg. The actual size of the film is the same, but the higher dose strips contain more medicine.
One of the more common side effects of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is nausea, particularly at first. This side effect tends to go away with continued administration of the medication as the body gets used to it.
Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) can also cause some dizziness or euphoria. However, this is less common in patients who are used to opioids already. If these symptoms do occur, they may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours until the medication wears off.
Opioids in general, including buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), can cause constipation.
If you are experiencing any undesirable side effects with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), particularly at first -- don’t panic! Many of these side effects go away quite quickly as your body gets used to the medicine over the first couple of days. If any side effects you experience are persisting, talk to your doctor. There are other medications and many tips/tricks for minimizing any undesirable side effects.
If you think buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) might be right for you, please reach out to our Bicycle Health online Suboxone doctors. We are standing by to answer all your questions. Call us at (844) 943-2514 or schedule an appointment here.