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Do Antibiotics Interact With Suboxone?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Feb 25, 2024 • 6 cited sources

Suboxone can interact with several different antibiotics. Those interactions can be dangerous, and in some cases, they can be life-threatening.[3]

Always tell your doctors that you’re taking Suboxone. When you fill your prescription, tell the pharmacist, too. These reminders can ensure your healthcare providers check for medication interactions before you take your first pill.

What Are Antibiotics?

An antibiotic is a medicine designed to combat bacterial infections. Before antibiotics were developed, the average life expectancy at birth was 47 years old. Infectious diseases like pneumonia and diphtheria were widespread. Antibiotics enabled people to overcome common illnesses and lead longer, healthier lives.[4]

While antibiotics are helpful, they can cause side effects and interact with some medications. Overuse of antibiotics in the population can also lead to resistant strains of infection that are harder to treat.[4] For these reasons, antibiotics should be used sparingly.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

Suboxone contains the following two ingredients:[5]

  • Buprenorphine, a weak opioid that latches to receptors and eases withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings
  • Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that protects against Suboxone misuse risks and offers some protection from overdose

When used as directed, Suboxone is a safe and effective treatment for OUD. However, anyone using this medication should add other substances carefully. Suboxone can interact with many types of drugs, such as antibiotics and benzodiazepines.[5] Never use another medication with Suboxone without asking your doctor first.

Understanding Suboxone & Antibiotic Interactions

Some antibiotics can interact with Suboxone and cause life-threatening reactions.[3] The liver is to blame for these problems.

The buprenorphine in Suboxone is metabolized in the liver through the enzyme CYP3A4. Some antibiotics inhibit the liver’s ability to produce this enzyme. When that happens, buprenorphine levels build up within the body.[2]

Symptoms of this side effect can include sedation, slow breathing, and blue-tinged skin and lips. Anyone who feels very sedated while using Suboxone should contact a doctor immediately. If the person is unconscious, call 911 and ask the operator for help.

Common Antibiotics That React With Suboxone

Antibiotics that can increase the effects of Suboxone include the following:[1, 2]

  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Erythromycin (Ery-Tab)
  • Ciprofloxacin

Is It Safe to Use Antibiotics With Suboxone?

Hundreds of different types of antibiotics are available.[6] If you’re using Suboxone, some of them may interact with your medication. Others may not.

Your doctor and pharmacist will check your medication for known interactions with Suboxone. The team can find solutions that are right for your infection and medication routine. Ensure that they have all of the information they need about your Suboxone, so they can make the right choice for you.

Seek Medical Advice Before Mixing Any Drug With Suboxone

Suboxone interacts with several different types of medications, including benzodiazepines, antiretrovirals and some antidepressants.[5] Ensure that your doctor and pharmacist know you’re using Suboxone before filling a prescription for any other type of medication, and never add anything to your medicine cabinet without asking your doctor first.

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

Sources
  1. Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone). National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Buprenorphine/Buprenorphine-Naloxone-(Suboxone). January 2021. Accessed November 2022.
  2. Drug Interactions of Clinical Importance Among the Opioids, Methadone and Buprenorphine, and Other Frequently Prescribed Medications: A Review. The American Journal on Addictions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3334287/. January 2010. Accessed November 2022.
  3. Life-Threatening Drug Interactions: What the Physician Needs to Know. Internal Medicine Journal. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/imj.13404. May 2017. Accessed November 2022.
  4. The Treasure Called Antibiotics. Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5354621/. December 2016. Accessed January 2024.
  5. Suboxone Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/022410s042lbl.pdf. March 2021. Accessed January 2024.
  6. Antibiotics Overview. National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/. November 2022. Accessed January 2024.

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