Suboxone’s manufacturer states that films and tablets shouldn’t be cut. But your doctor may recommend splitting your tablets or films to deliver a customized dose.
Suboxone film should not be cut and Suboxone tablets should not be split unless your doctor explicitly tells you to do so. Tampering with your medication can result in unintended — and dangerous — side effects.
When stopping Suboxone, you may want to wean off very slowly to prevent withdrawal symptoms or the return of cravings. For example, your doctor may tell you to take half of your daily strip for a week or two before discontinuing altogether. In this scenario, you may be cutting your strip in half.
3 Reasons Why Cutting Suboxone May Be Required
While the manufacturer might not recommend this approach, films and tablets may come in dosing intervals that aren’t right for every patient.
These are a few reasons your doctor might recommend cutting your Suboxone doses:
1. You’re Just Starting Therapy
Some doctors recommend using very small starting doses when using Suboxone for the first time. They may recommend cutting a 4 mg strip in half in this situation to deliver a 2 mg dose. Again, Suboxone’s manufacturer does not recommend this, so only do so if your doctor advises.
2. You Need a Customized Dose of Suboxone
Some people may need a dose that is slightly less or more than a 2 mg, 4 mg, or 8 mg standard strip. If someone needs a 12 mg dose, they might be instructed to cut a strip in half to achieve it.
3. You’re Trying to End Suboxone Therapy
How to Cut & Split Suboxone Film & Tablets
Your doctor should help you understand how to split your doses properly. These steps may help:
How to Cut Suboxone Film
Researchers compared four cut methods in a 2019 study and found that using a ruler and razor was the most effective way to ensure equal doses. The ruler holds the strip steady, and the razor makes a clean cut.
If you don’t have a razor, using scissors works well. Ensure the scissors are clean and dry, so the strip does not get wet or sticky.
How to Cut Suboxone Tablets
To cut a tablet in half, buy a pill splitter (like this one on Amazon), and use it only for Suboxone tablets. Label the splitter with a black marker and keep it with your pills. This tool allows you to cut your doses quickly and effectively, and the sharp blade protects tablets from crushing or fragmenting.
Dangers of Cutting Suboxone Film or Tablets
Manufacturers don’t recommend splitting film or tablets as the practice can have very serious consequences. These are a few of them:
Suboxone tablets are hard to identify when they’re cut up, and partial strips may be attractive to curious children. Full doses in their original containers are easier to keep track of.
Tablets can get crushed by dull tools. The powder can coat your cutting surface, and if you don’t remove it, the drug could get sprinkled on the next thing you place on that surface.
Some people cut their Suboxone films and tablets because they want to take more than their doctors recommend. If you’re tempted to misuse your medication, talk with your doctor immediately.
What Happens if Suboxone Isn’t Split Evenly?
Even if you use the right tools, you may cut your doses slightly unevenly. If you take slightly more or less than one tablet/strip, you may get a little more or less than the manufacturer recommended, but these differences are extremely small. You likely won’t notice a difference.
Most doctors do not recommend cutting your Suboxone smaller than in half because it’s harder to cut tiny amounts properly. Try to cut the strip/tablet in half as accurately as possible.
Chat With a Suboxone Doctor Today
If you’re not sure how to take Suboxone or manage your doses, speak with a Suboxone doctor. Get good advice on how much you should take to keep your opioid use disorder under control. And find out how to manage each dose just right to avoid relapse.
If you end up cutting your Suboxone tablet or strip to get the smaller dose recommended by your doctor, make sure to keep lines of communication open. If you experience any negative effects, talk to your doctor immediately.
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
- Instructions for Starting Buprenorphine (Suboxone) at Home When You Are Using Opiates (Heroin, Pain Pills, Etc.) Regularly. State of New Mexico. https://newmexico.networkofcare.org/content/client/1446/2.5_2(CT)_InstructionsforStartingBuprenorphineatHomeWhenUsingOpiates.pdf. February 2017. Accessed June 2023.
- An Exploratory Study of Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone) Film Splitting: Cutting Methods, Content Uniformity, and Stability. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31085795/. May 2019. Accessed June 2023.
- Information for Pharmacists Dispensing or Administering Suboxone Film. Government of South Australia. https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/ef2aa4004008e228b4c2bf4826472d56/Suboxone_Film_-_Info_for_Pharmacists+201703.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-ef2aa4004008e228b4c2bf4826472d56-nKOH-It. September 2011. Accessed June 2023.