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How to start Suboxone at home?

There are two options for starting buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) for the first time: Starting the medication in the clinic or starting it at home.

The advantages to starting Suboxone in a clinic setting are that the patient can easily talk to the clinician to assess how they are feeling, and the clinician can adjust the dose throughout the course of the day as needed. The disadvantages are that this requires taking a dose and then staying in the clinic for most of the day to be observed. 

If a patient feels confident adjusting the medicine on their own at home, research shows that it is just as safe and effective to start buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) at home if the patient prefers this. Usually, this entails starting with a small dose on your first day (after having abstained from all other opioids for at least 12 hours to avoid withdrawal symptoms) and then either taking a second or third dose later in the day as tolerated. Before starting Suboxone at home, ask your doctor for specific instructions on how to take Suboxone at home.

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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