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Does Suboxone Make You Sweat?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Feb 20, 2024 • 5 cited sources

Suboxone can make people sweat more than usual. Doctors call the condition hyperhidrosis. In one study, close to 10% of people using buprenorphine experienced this problem.[4]

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If the sweating doesn’t go away after a few weeks or seriously impacts your quality of life, some evidence has suggested oral oxybutynin may help. This is a prescription medication, so you will need to talk to your doctor to get it.

Suboxone & Sweating

A relatively common side effect of Suboxone is unusual sweating. This is more specifically a side effect of buprenorphine, the main active ingredient in Suboxone.[1] 

While the connection between Suboxone and sweating isn’t entirely clear, researchers think mast cells may be to blame. Opioids trigger these mast cells, causing the release of histamines.[5]

When histamines hit your system, they trigger symptoms like sweating and itching. Researchers don’t know why this happens, but it’s not unusual in people who use medications like Suboxone.

While it can be annoying and potentially uncomfortable, it is not generally a major health concern on its own. At the same time, there are some potential solutions you can talk about with your doctor if it is an ongoing issue that you feel is significantly impacting your quality of life.

Is This Issue Indefinite?

This issue isn’t well studied, although anecdotally, patients seem to report it often dissipates after a person has been taking Suboxone for a few weeks. This aligns with some of the common expectations of the medication, where side effects are often worse in the beginning and begin to fade as the body adjusts to the medication.

If this issue is ongoing even after a few weeks, there is a relatively recent case report suggesting the drug oxybutynin may help to treat hyperhidrosis (the medical term for heavy, unusual sweating) caused by buprenorphine-naloxone medication, which is the same type of medication that Suboxone is.[2] In that report, a 28-year-old woman taking the medication for the purpose of treating her opioid use disorder (OUD) had her sweating symptoms successfully treated by taking oral oxybutynin at 5 mg a day. 

That same study notes topical therapies, such as glycopyrronium tosylate and aluminum chloride, are also sometimes used to treat hyperhidrosis. The people treating the women in the report felt these solutions weren’t good choices, and oral oxybutynin was a better choice, as oral oxybutynin would distribute evenly with low levels of adversarial side effects. This was useful because the sweating was widespread throughout the patient’s body rather than targeted in particular areas.[2] 

Why this sweating occurs isn’t known at this time, although it may be due to the effect of buprenorphine-naloxone on muscarinic receptors, which seems to be the case for similar sweating caused by methadone, another medication for OUD. However, there isn’t much research in this area.

Other Symptoms Associated With Suboxone

Side effects when taking Suboxone aren’t generally severe.[3] The most common side effects include aches and pains in a few areas of the body, including the stomach, tongue, and back. Suboxone has also sometimes been linked to headaches.

Many people taking Suboxone may experience constipation, mouth numbness, and/or mouth redness. It can also cause sleep difficulties for some individuals.

Rarely, some people can have a dangerous allergic reaction to Suboxone, which is signaled by hives, rash, itching, and swelling. This has the potential to be life-threatening and should be considered a medical emergency, as it can cause a person to have difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Suboxone can rarely cause serious liver issues, although this will generally be if a person was already at risk of liver complications. Signs of a serious liver issue that warrants immediately contacting a doctor includes dark urine, light-colored stool, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, and jaundice, where the skin or the whites of their eyes start to yellow.[3] 

For most cases of minor to moderate side effects, they will begin to lessen after a few weeks to months on the medication. 

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions people often ask about excessive sweating and Suboxone:

What other conditions can cause excessive sweating?

Medications aren’t the only triggers for excessive sweating. Conditions that can cause hyperhidrosis include the following:[6]

·   Anxiety disorders
·   Cancer
·   Diabetes
·   Heart disease
·   Thyroid disorder
·   Menopause
·   Parkinson’s disease
·   Spinal cord injury
·   Stroke
·   Tuberculosis

How do doctors diagnose excessive sweating?

Sometimes, doctors can spot the signs of too much sweating. However, they can also use special papers to measure how much you sweat.[6]

Do I have to quit Suboxone if I start sweating?

No. Medications like aluminum chloride, glycopyrronium tosylate, and oxybutynin can be used to ease your sweating while your MAT continues.[2]

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

  1. Buprenorphine. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. January 2023. Accessed February 2023.
  2. Oxybutynin Treatment for Buprenorphine-Naloxone-Induced Hyperhidrosis. JAAD Case Reports. April 2021. Accessed February 2023. 
  3. Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (Opioid Dependence). National Library of Medicine. January 2022. Accessed February 2023.
  4. Drug Safety and Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Behavior Related to Outpatient Opioid Replacement Therapy: Results From a Survey Among Physicians. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. March 2017. Accessed January 2024.
  5. Opioid-Induced Mast Cell Activation and Vascular Responses Is Not Mediated by Mu-Opioid Receptors: An In Vivo Microdialysis Study in Human Skin. Anesthesia and Analgesia. February 2004. Accessed January 2024.

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