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Does Suboxone cause nausea?

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Yes, some people experience nausea when first starting buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment. 

Nausea and Suboxone

There are a few reasons why nausea may be present as a side effect in patients taking Suboxone: 

1. Suboxone should be started after a patient begins to experience withdrawal symptoms

Since buprenorphine/naloxone is an opioid agonist/antagonist combination, if a person still has opioids in their system and has not begun to experience withdrawal symptoms, Suboxone can cause withdrawal symptoms 

2. Some people are more sensitive to opioids and can experience opioid-induced nausea and vomiting

Buprenorphine is an opioid and is known to cause nausea in some patients 

3. Some people may not tolerate Suboxone and experience nausea 

The good news is that nausea symptoms from Suboxone typically only occur at the beginning of therapy and will improve with time. 

How can you manage nausea from Suboxone? 

There are a few things you can do to help manage nausea caused by Suboxone: 

  • Acupressure/acupuncture
  • Avoid greasy and spicy foods 
  • Eat before you take your dose (at least 30 minutes before) 
  • Try to relax and find a calming area
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids 
  • Your doctor can prescribe anti-nausea medications if appropriate 

If you are experiencing overly bothersome nausea from taking Suboxone, follow up with your Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) provider

Call 911 or seek emergency medical care if you experience any severe side-effects such as: 

  • Excessive drowsiness or difficulty waking up 
  • Fainting 
  • Irregular heart beating 
  • Mood changes 
  • Severe dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Slow or shallow breathing

Brittany Hoffmann-Eubanks, PharmD, MBA

Brittany Hoffmann-Eubanks, PharmD, MBA, received her Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration degrees from Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and completed her community pharmacy residency with Midwestern University and a local community pharmacy.

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