Caffeine’s interactions with Suboxone are not well studied. It seems inadvisable to mix the two drugs, as there is some evidence that caffeine may change elements of how Suboxone works. At the same time, it likely isn’t a particularly dangerous reaction.
Why You Should Limit Caffeine Intake While on Suboxone
Suboxone contains the drug buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. This makes it definitionally an opioid, although the term opioid is often closer associated with drugs known as full opioid agonists, such as heroin and morphine.
On a basic level, buprenorphine can be thought of as a much less potent type of opioid, with less misuse and addiction potential. This is primarily what makes it so helpful for treating opioid use disorder (OUD).
Different drugs can interact in unexpected ways when taken together. While it’s often not thought of as one, caffeine is a type of drug called a stimulant. The ways in which buprenorphine and caffeine interact aren’t well studied, so it isn’t advisable to take these drugs together.
One of the few studies conducted on the subject showed that mice given both buprenorphine and caffeine had reduced sensitivity to the ambulation-increasing effect of opioids. At the same time, this study was fairly limited in scope and only conducted on animals, which don’t always react to drugs the same as humans. It is also a relatively old research study, published in 1994.
Realistically, caffeine is unlikely to severely impact one’s buprenorphine-based medication for opioid use disorder. There isn’t much evidence suggesting that. It’s just an understudied interaction.
At the same time, it would be wise to limit intake of any substance that isn’t well studied for the way it interacts with buprenorphine. Doing so can maximize the chances that your medication works exactly as intended.
How Does Caffeine Impact Your Body While on Suboxone?
Caffeine should largely work as expected if you take it while on Suboxone. It is a stimulant, stimulating the nervous system and, by extension, generally making a user feel more alert and energetic. It may also worsen the gastrointestinal symptoms Suboxone can sometimes cause, as caffeine is known to sometimes cause upset stomach or heartburn.
Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it will often increase the rate at which a person urinates. It can cause an increase in blood pressure, and it is believed to interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body.
In small to moderate doses, caffeine is not generally considered dangerous, at least to otherwise healthy individuals. However, there are certain health conditions and other circumstances that make using caffeine inadvisable. For example, pregnant people should limit caffeine intake as it can be absorbed by the fetus.
If there are specific ways in which caffeine affects people on Suboxone, they aren’t well documented, which is part of why it isn’t recommended for a person to drink caffeine when on the medication. Caffeine isn’t an essential substance, even if many people find it helpful to go about their day-to-day life. If you regularly consume caffeine and take Suboxone, talk to your doctor about what level of consumption is safe for you.
Alternatives to Caffeine While on Suboxone
If looking for a safer alternative to caffeine while on Suboxone, avoid any supplement purported to be “energy boosting” or have similar properties. This will essentially have all the same problems as mixing caffeine and Suboxone, except other stimulants are even less well studied than caffeine. You should especially avoid potent and controlled stimulants.
One of the more obvious ways to try and boost your energy while on Suboxone is to regularly get a good night’s sleep. Ideally, you will want to sleep at least seven hours a night, with most people benefiting more from eight to nine hours of sleep.
This can admittedly be difficult while on a buprenorphine-based medication, as it is associated with sleep issues. To help, try to stick to a strict sleep schedule when possible, getting ready for bed by a certain time by stopping activities that may make it hard to sleep, like exercise or watching television. It can be helpful to wake up at the same time every day.
Exercise and outdoor activity are also associated with a boost in energy as well as other health benefits. If you can, getting 20 minutes or more of light exercise, especially outdoor exercise, may be a good practice to introduce into your daily routine. Depending on your schedule, exercising in the morning or the early afternoon may allow you to get a nice boost of energy every day. This can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Buprenorphine. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459126/. May 2022. Accessed February 2023.
- Interactions of Opioids With Caffeine: Evaluation by Ambulatory Activity in Mice. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8021804/. February 1994. Accessed February 2023.
- Caffeine. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html. September 2021. Accessed February 2023.
- Caffeine and Diuresis During Rest and Exercise: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4725310/. September 2015. Accessed February 2023.
- Buprenorphine Disrupts Sleep and Decreases Adenosine Levels in Sleep-Regulating Brain Regions of Sprague Dawley Rat. Anesthesiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197808/. October 2021. Accessed February 2023.
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
More popular Suboxone questions
Can Suboxone Change Your Personality & Is It Permanent?Suboxone Drug Interaction General Side Effects Usage
Does Suboxone Have Interactions With Other Prescriptions or Medications I Might Be Taking?Suboxone Drug Interaction
I’ve Tried Methadone & I Don’t Like It: How Do I Know Suboxone Will Work for Me?Suboxone Starting Treatment
Am I Allergic to Suboxone or Is It a Reaction to Another Drug?Suboxone Drug Interaction General Side Effects
Imagine what’s possible on the other side of opioid use disorder.
Our science-backed approach boasts 95% of patients reporting no withdrawal symptoms at 7 days. We can help you achieve easier days and a happier future.