In general, the answer is no. When we look at large, population based studies of Suboxone, there are no significant changes in mood associated with Suboxone.
Suboxone is a powerful therapy for people with opioid use disorder (OUD). This medication is FDA approved to help treat people struggling with OUD to avoid cravings and withdrawal symptoms and achieve sustained recovery.
In general, Suboxone is not associated with mood changes. However, every individual is different and some individuals may perceive mood changes while on suboxone.
How Does Suboxone Work?
Suboxone’s main active ingredient – buprenorphine – is a partial opioid agonist. It works similarly to other opioids like heroin or fentanyl or oxycodone by binding to opioid receptors in the brain.
Opioid receptors are part of our reward system and as a result, any opioid drug (including Suboxone) can potentially be psychoactive and affect our mood, energy levels, sleep, etc. 
Can I Feel Happier When I Take Suboxone?
“Happy is a complicated term. It is true that some individuals, particularly those who are opioid naive and not accustomed to opioids, may get some euphoric effects from Suboxone. However, euphoria and “happy” feelings are less pronounced in most people using Suboxone for OUD who are opioid experienced because their bodies are used to opioids and thus Suboxone, which is a partial agonist, does not produced as strong a high or “euphoria” as full opioids to which they are accustomed. 
Can I Feel Depressed or Anxious While on Suboxone?
Yes, anything is possible. When we look at studies of thousands of individuals on Suboxone, anxiety and depression are not consistently shown to be a result of the use of this medication.
On the other hand, opioids, including Subxone, latch to neurons in the brain and persistently alter them, causing long term changes to our brain’s reward pathways, how we experience pleasure, pain, and other emotions, including depression and anxiety. 
Depression and anxiety are complicated, multi-factorial emotions. Particularly in recovery, it is hard to tell if symptoms of depression and anxiety are due to the medication, or potentially due to the stress of the recovery process itself. In addition, many individuals with Substance use disorders also struggle with chronic mental health issues such as depression or anxiety which may be better or worse with time.
If you start taking Suboxone and acutely or abruptly experience a change in mood – depression or anxiety – talk to your doctor. They may be able to help you tease out whether it is the medication itself or some other factor that is causing a worsening of your mood.
- Suboxone Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/020733s022lbl.pdf. February 2018. Accessed December 2022.
- Opioid Facts. U.S. Department of Justice. https://www.justice.gov/opioidawareness/opioid-facts. November 2022. Accessed December 2022.
- The Role of Euphoric Effects in the Opiate Addictions of Heroin Addicts, Medical Patients, and Impaired Health Professionals. Journal of Drug Issues. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002204268501500204?journalCode=joda. April 1985. Accessed December 2022.
- How a Brain Gets Hooked on Opioids. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/brain-gets-hooked-opioids. October 2017. Accessed December 2022.
- Opioid Withdrawal. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/. September 2022. Accessed December 2022.
Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH
Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where ... Read More