Suboxone can interfere with a person’s menstrual cycle, although to what degree has not fully been researched.
Suboxone and similar drugs have also been linked to other sexual side effects like low libido and erectile dysfunction, which are very common. However, these effects don’t signal any major concern beyond how they impact a person’s ability to have sex.
Do Suboxone & Other Opioids Disrupt Menstruation Patterns?
While it appears to be understudied, Suboxone and other opioids have been reported to potentially disrupt a person’s menstrual cycle. It should be noted that buprenorphine, the active opioid in Suboxone, is usually considered safe for a person’s long-term health.
These disruptions to a person’s menstrual cycle don’t generally represent a major health concern unless the disruptions are significant enough as to seriously impact a person’s quality of life, which is rare.
Other Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone
Buprenorphine-based medications like Suboxone have been shown to often reduce a person’s libido and were demonstrated in a few studies to sometimes cause sexual dysfunction in cisgender men.
In that study, 95% of men reported intercourse dissatisfaction, 92.5% reported low sexual desire, and 77.5% reported erectile dysfunction. This was significantly more than the control group and doesn’t appear to have been impacted by notable outside factors, such as marital status, a person’s history of drug use, or how long they had been taking buprenorphine-naloxone medications (the type of medication that Suboxone is).
If you experience sexual dysfunction of any kind when on Suboxone, it’s worth talking to a doctor about it. These side effects aren’t a sign of a serious health risk, but they can admittedly impact a person’s quality of life, especially if they are trying to have a baby.
It’s generally recommended to avoid over-the-counter products claiming to help libido and sexual function, which are abundant online. Many of these are scams or sold with misleading promises. A doctor can give you real recommendations that are both safe and evidence-based.
Suboxone & Fertility
While Suboxone may complicate one’s ability to reproduce due to the sexual side effects noted above, it shouldn’t generally impact a person’s fertility. While the subject hasn’t been heavily researched, it is generally believed that buprenorphine-based medications won’t affect fertility and won’t increase the chance that a baby is born with a birth defect.
Poor growth of a baby, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and the necessitation of a C-section have been linked to opioid misuse, such as when a person misuses much more potent opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl. If you take Suboxone as prescribed, your risk of these issues isn’t believed to increase.
Additionally, Suboxone is considered to have very low misuse potential. In most cases, the drug is taken as prescribed to aid in the treatment of opioid use disorder.
- Buprenorphine. Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/ndarc/resources/NDA073%20Fact%20Sheet%20Buprenorphine.pdf. 2016. Accessed February 2023.
- Sexual Dysfunction in Men on Buprenorphine – Naloxone-Based Substitution Therapy. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. https://journals.lww.com/indianjpsychiatry/Fulltext/2020/62010/Sexual_dysfunction_in_men_on_buprenorphine__.11.aspx. February 2020. Accessed February 2023.
- Mother To Baby | Fact Sheets [Internet]. Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK582609/. 1994. Accessed February 2023.
- Opioid Use in Pregnancy, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and Childhood Outcomes: Executive Summary of a Joint Workshop by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Pediatrics, Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the March of Dimes Foundation. Obstetrics & Gynecology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486414/. July 2018. 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
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