How Long Does It Take for Suboxone to Dissolve?

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Suboxone is a little bit trickier to take than other medications because unlike other medications, it is not a pill that is swallowed, but instead comes as strip or tablet form that is dissolved under the tongue. The reason for this is the Suboxone is much better absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) than in the stomach due to the stomach’s acidity. 

Suboxone tablets/strips usually take about one or two minutes to dissolve. Some individuals report it takes them a little longer - 10 minutes - to dissolve. [1]

If you have questions, your doctor or pharmacist can help show you how to take the medication. Following a few basic guidelines can ensure you get the most out of each dose you take. 

What to Do if Suboxone Dissolves Too Fast 

If your Suboxone strips seem to melt away much faster than they should, talk to your doctor. You may be moving the strip around in your mouth or not giving it enough time to absorb pressed up against your tongue. 

General Tips for Before & After Taking Suboxone

Most people adjust to taking Suboxone quickly. In time, taking your medication will be as easy and routine as brushing your teeth. Following a few best practices may help. 

Before Your Dose

Suboxone works best when your mouth is free of any contaminants. About 15 minutes before your dose, and avoid the following:

  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Smoking products, including vape pens

During Your Dose 

Your instructions vary a bit depending on your Suboxone type:

  • Tablets: Place the product beneath your tongue without crushing it or chewing.
  • Strips or films: Place the film beneath your tongue or on the inside of your cheek, depending on your doctor's instructions.
  • Keep your mouth firmly closed. Don't talk, sing, or whistle. Keep your lips pressed together. Your tablets or strips won't shift in a closed mouth, and you won't deal with air exposure that could slow dissolving rates. 
  • Don't eat or drink. Let your medication dissolve naturally without adding anything to your mouth.
  • Leave the product alone. Resist the urge to tap the product with your tongue to see if it's gone. 

After Your Dose 

You may spit out or swallow any residue that remains in the mouth once the strip/tablet is completely dissolved. Wait at least fifteen minutes before eating. Suboxone products can cause some dental problems with prolonged use [2]. To help protect your teeth, brush your teeth at least twice a day, ideally shortly after taking your Suboxone.

SOURCES

  1. Buprenorphine with Naloxone (Suboxone Sublingual Film) for Opiate Dependence. NPS Medicinewise. https://www.nps.org.au/radar/articles/buprenorphine-with-naloxone-suboxone-sublingual-film-for-opiate-dependence. September 2011. Accessed October 2022. 
  2. Buprenorphine: Drug Safety Communication—FDA Warns About Dental Problems with Buprenorphine Medicines Dissolved in the Mouth to Treat Opioid Use Disorder and Pain. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/safety/medical-product-safety-information/buprenorphine-drug-safety-communication-fda-warns-about-dental-problems-buprenorphine-medicines. January 2022. Accessed October 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 she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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