Caffeine’s interactions with Suboxone are not well studied, but there is no current evidence advising against consuming moderate amounts of caffeine while taking Suboxone. If you aren’t sure, talk to your doctor about your caffeine intake while taking Suboxone for opioid use disorder (OUD). However, it likely isn’t a particularly dangerous reaction to eat chocolate or drink tea or coffee.
Can I Drink Coffee While on Suboxone?
There aren’t known interactions between Suboxone and caffeine; however, you should avoid coffee as well as other drinks and food for at least 15 minutes before and after you take your Suboxone. Otherwise, it’s likely safe to drink coffee in moderation.
Is It Safe to Consume Caffeine While Taking Suboxone?
Yes, it is likely safe to consume moderate amounts of caffeine while taking Suboxone.
Suboxone contains the drug buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and the opioid antagonist, naloxone. 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)—it relieves cravings and withdrawal symptoms without causing a high. And there are many major and dangerous buprenorphine interactions, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, but caffeine doesn’t appear to be one of them.
That said, the ways in which buprenorphine and caffeine interact aren’t well studied, but it’s generally accepted that they don’t cause a major interaction.
Limitations of Research
One of the few studies conducted on combining caffeine and opioids 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 in mice, 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.
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, increasing nervous system activity and, by extension, generally making a user feel more alert and energetic. It could potentially worsen the gastrointestinal side effects 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 more than moderate amounts of 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 lives. 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 you are looking for a safer alternative to caffeine while on Suboxone, avoid any supplement purported to be “energy boosting.” 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 unless you are prescribed them by a doctor who knows you are on Suboxone.
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.
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
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