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What Is the Best Time of Day to Take Suboxone?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Oct 4, 2023 • 5 cited sources

Quick Answer

Morning is typically the best time to take Suboxone, says the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment.[1] A dose early in the day offers protection before you’ve encountered your first drug trigger.

The best time of day to take Suboxone is one you can maintain every day. For most people, that’s in the morning. But exceptions exist.

Some people feel groggy after morning Suboxone doses, and the problem persists even when they take a lower dose. In cases like this, night doses might be better.

Most individuals take Suboxone once a day. However, some individuals may require dosing twice or even three times per day. You might take doses in the morning and at night in these situations.

Is There a Best Time to Take Suboxone? 

The form of Suboxone you take doesn’t impact when you should take it. Most people benefit from taking their first dose in the morning while they’re preparing for the day.

Most people benefit from taking their first dose in the morning while they’re preparing for the day.

Suboxone films and strips interact with your mucosal membranes and are dissolved in the mouth. The buprenorphine in your Suboxone tablets isn’t as effective when swallowed because it is not absorbed as well in the stomach as in the mouth.

To use film and strips, do the following:

  • Wash your hands. 
  • Open your Suboxone dose. 
  • Per your doctor’s instructions, place the film or strip on your cheek or under your tongue.
  • Keep your mouth closed (no eating, drinking, or talking) until the strip or film has dissolved. 
  • Take a sip of water, swish it around your teeth and gums, and swallow. 
  • Wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth. 

Factors That Affect What Time to Take Your Suboxone Dose

There are some things you’ll want to consider when choosing the right time of day for you to take your Suboxone dose. These may include:

  • Drowsiness: Suboxone can make some people sleepy and taking it in the morning may make it difficult to stay awake or get things done. In this case, taking it at night may be the best option.
  • Other side effects: Suboxone can cause other side effects, such as dizziness or upset stomach as well. If these are making it difficult to work, attend school, or function during the day, it might be helpful to take it before bed.
  • Routine: If you are a morning person, it might make sense to build taking your Suboxone into your morning routine. But if you are a late riser or more of a night owl, you may prefer to take your dose before bed.
  • Your doses per day: If your doctor has prescribed Suboxone once per day for opioid use disorder (OUD), you will have to decide morning or night. But if your provider has directed you to take it twice per day then you will need to take it in the morning and at night.

If you are having trouble finding the right time of day to take your Suboxone, talk to your doctor. They will be able to assist you.

When Is the Best Time to Take My First Dose of Suboxone?

When to take Suboxone for the first time varies depending on the type of opioids you misused. You must let your opioids wear off before Suboxone enters your system.

Taking Suboxone too soon can lead to precipitated withdrawal.[2] This syndrome is temporary, but it can be incredibly uncomfortable. You’ll feel sick for hours, and you could emerge feeling biased against a medication that could save your life.

Eliminating the risk of precipitated withdrawal means not taking your Suboxone until you experience opioid withdrawal symptoms like the following:[2]

  • Goosebumps
  • Wide pupils
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea

When these symptoms are moderate (not mild), you’re in withdrawal. Then, you can take your first Suboxone dose safely.

These symptoms will begin during different timeframes, depending on the drugs you used.[3] This table can help you understand the differences.

Recommended Wait TimeOpioid Examples 
Short-acting opioids12–16 hours Heroin, hydrocodone, and oxycodone (immediate-release version)
Intermediate-acting opioids 17–24 hoursOxycodone (sustained-release version) 
Long-acting opioids 30–48 hoursMethadone and fentanyl 

* These are typical estimates that can vary greatly from person to person. It’s best to immediately contact your medical professional to determine your recommended start time for taking Suboxone.

What to Expect During The First Days of Suboxone Treatment 

Your doctor will choose your Suboxone dose carefully based on your drug use history, health, weight and other characteristics. Even so, getting the dose titrated just right can take some time.

To help you prepare, do the following:

  • Take time off: You may feel sick or unfocused as your body adjusts to Suboxone. Don’t go to work or schedule important events. Focus on your recovery. 
  • Anticipate sickness: You must be in moderate withdrawal before Suboxone enters your body. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re following the process properly.
  • Gather your materials: Your team might use a form like this to help you understand how to start Suboxone.[4] You’ll need an accurate clock, a pencil and a clear head to fill this out. There’s no shame in asking someone to help you.

During the first day of Suboxone treatment, you may feel uncomfortable. But during the next two days, your discomfort will ease, and you’ll find a Suboxone dose that is right for your body.

How Long Should I Continue Suboxone Therapy?

Your recovery timeline is personal, but far too many people stop using Suboxone too soon. Your medication can help you focus, stay sober, and resist relapse. If you quit using your medication too soon, relapse is possible and even probable. 

For many people, Suboxone treatment can be indefinite. Decisions to decrease or stop using Suboxone should be made in consultation with your doctor. You’ll be asked about the following:

  • Stable housing 
  • Income stability 
  • Robust support systems 
  • Absence of legal problems

If you’ve achieved all of these factors (which experts call indices of stabilization), it could be an ok time to taper or discontinue.[5] But there’s no rush. If quitting puts you at risk for relapse, most patients and doctors would agree that staying on Suboxone is better than relapsing for your overall health and long-term recovery.

Bicycle Health for Suboxone Treatment

For many people, finding adequate Suboxone providers is tough. How it works at Bicycle Health is different. Our providers use telemedicine techniques to meet you where you are.

If you’re approved for Suboxone, our doctors work with your pharmacy to fill your medication order. Our teams offer telemedicine appointments to help you understand when to start taking your medication, and teams will monitor your progress to ensure that you stay on track. 

If you’ve been searching for help, we could be just what you’ve been looking for. 

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. What Is Buprenorphine Treatment Like? National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. Accessed June 2023. 
  2. Buprenorphine Tablet Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. February 2015. Accessed June 2023.
  3. Buprenorphine Induction. Providers Clinical Support System. November 2021. Accessed June 2023.
  4. Day 1 Starting Suboxone. British Columbia. Accessed June 2023. 
  5. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction: Treatment Improvement Protocol Series 40. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2004. Accessed June 2023.

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