Can Suboxone cause swelling in legs and feet?

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Although uncommon, leg and feet swelling are listed as infrequent side effects of Suboxone. There can also be fluid retention in the hands and arms. 

By definition, an infrequent side effect means that 1/100 - 1/1000 people experience it. It is not a serious side effect if it is being caused by Suboxone. However, the new onset of leg and feet swelling can be a sign of serious medical illness and should be evaluated by your provider.

What are some common and important side effects of Suboxone?

Common side effects include:     

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Generalized muscle aches and cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Blurred vision 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Feelings of skipped heartbeats
  • Attentional problems
  • Tongue pain

Other important side effects to be aware of include:

  • Respiratory suppression
  • Overdose if taken in excess or with other sedating medications
  • Euphoria, misuse, addiction (possible but lower than other opioids)
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation
  •  Precipitated opioid withdrawal (if other opioids are present in the system) 

What are other causes of leg and feet swelling?

Many factors can cause leg and feet swelling, and some of them are serious.

Causes of leg and feet swelling include:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Blood clot
  • Overweight
  • Leg infection
  • Older age
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Preeclampsia (in a pregnant woman)
  •  Other medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, hormone pills, steroids. 

If you develop leg swelling while taking Suboxone, do not assume it is just the Suboxone. It is important to be evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible.

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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