Can Suboxone cause seizures?

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Seizure is not commonly listed as a side effect of Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone). However, in some cases, it may increase the risk of a seizure. 

The package insert for buprenorphine/naloxone, warns that this combination can increase the risk of a seizure in people with a history of seizure disorder or during a period of time where a seizure might be more likely to occur, such as during alcohol withdrawal or withdrawal from other sedating medications like benzodiazepines.

Therefore, if you have been taking alcohol or benzodiazepines or if you have a history of a seizure disorder be sure to inform your doctor before starting Suboxone to discuss the risks.

Can Suboxone Cause Seizures

What is a seizure?

seizure is due to the sudden onset of abnormal electrical activity in the brain which affects behavior, movement, and consciousness. 

Most seizures last for less than two minutes. Typical symptoms include confusion, staring spells, uncontrollable jerking movements of arms or legs, loss of consciousness, and emotional or cognitive symptoms.

Other ways Suboxone affects the nervous system and brain

Suboxone affects the brain and nervous system, and there are several well-known neurologic or psychiatric side effects. These include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Over-sedation
  • Suppression of the respiratory drive
  • Impaired attention and motor control
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Tremor 

It can also cause euphoriatolerance, and withdrawal, which means it has a risk (albeit lower than other opioids) of being misused and causing addiction.

Claire Wilcox, MD

Claire Wilcox, MD, is a general and addiction psychiatrist in private practice and an associate professor of translational neuroscience at the Mind Research Network in New Mexico; and has completed an addictions fellowship, psychiatry residency, and internal medicine residency. Having done extensive research in the area, she is an expert in the neuroscience of substance use disorders. Although she is interested in several topics in medicine and psychiatry, with a particular focus on substance use disorders, obesity, eating disorders, and chronic pain, her primary career goal is to help promote recovery and wellbeing for people with a range of mental health challenges.

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