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Can I have an allergic reaction to Suboxone?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Apr 22, 2023 • 5 cited sources

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to Suboxone, but it is rare. Most allergies or adverse effects are minimal or absent when Suboxone is taken appropriately.

If you have any adverse reactions, contact the doctor who prescribed your Suboxone immediately.

What Ingredients Are in Suboxone?

The active ingredients in Suboxone are buprenorphine and naloxone. Inactive ingredients include maltitol, polyethylene oxide, acesulfame potassium, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, citric acid, lime flavor, sodium citrate, white ink, and FD&C yellow #6.

Though rare, it’s possible to have an allergy or adverse reaction to one of the active or inactive ingredients in Suboxone.

How to Spot an Allergy to Buprenorphine

A buprenorphine allergy generally manifests as hives, a rash and itchiness. However, most people who are allergic to buprenorphine are allergic to all opioids. Therefore, if you have taken opioids prior without an allergic reaction, it is very unlikely for you to have a true allergy to buprenorphine. 

In very rare cases, just like any other medication, a systemic reaction can result, which includes anaphylactic shock, trouble breathing, low blood pressure or loss of consciousness. 

If you experience any adverse reactions, contact a doctor immediately. Systemic reactions require emergency medication attention.

How to Spot an Allergy to Naloxone

An allergic reaction to naloxone is also extremely uncommon, but as with any medication, it is possible. Signs of a naloxone allergic reaction include swelling of the lips, throat and face as well as hives.[1] 

If you experience any swelling or hives, seek emergency medical attention.

Are Allergic Reactions to Suboxone Common?

No, allergic reactions to Suboxone are extremely rare. Patients with a known hypersensitivity to buprenorphine or naloxone should not take Suboxone.[2] 

Alternatives to Suboxone

If you suspect you have a hypersensitivity to either buprenorphine or naloxone, talk to your doctor about another form of Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) that would work for you. For example, if you are allergic to naloxone, you could take Subutex instead, which only contains buprenorphine.[3]

Methadone is another alternative to Suboxone, but it has a higher misuse potential, and it generally requires patients to visit a clinic for doses on a daily basis, making it a significantly more time-intensive option. Buprenorphine is generally viewed as a safer form of MAT.[4]

Your doctor will help you find a treatment that will work for you if Suboxone isn’t an option.

Suboxone Side Effects

Having a side effect from a medication is very different from having an “allergy”. Side effects are uncomfortable but rarely life-threatening. 

Here are the most side effects associated with Suboxone:

  • Tongue pain
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth numbness
  • Dental issues[5]
  • Headache
  • Digestive issues
  • Sleep issues
  • Drowsiness
  • Concentration problems

Most side effects are short term when the medication is first started and usually improve on their own once the body gets used to the medication. However, if they persist, there are treatment options available. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these side effects.

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. Naloxone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. April 2022. Accessed April 2022.
  2. Sublingual Desensitization for Buprenorphine Hypersensitivity. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. April 2010. Accessed March 2023.
  3. Buprenorphine. Drug Enforcement Administration. December 2019. Accessed March 2023.
  4. Buprenorphine vs. Methadone Treatment: A Review of Evidence in Both Developed and Developing Worlds. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice. January–April 2012. Accessed March 2023.
  5. Association Between Sublingual Buprenorphine-Naloxone Exposure and Dental Disease. JAMA. December 2022. Accessed March 2023.
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