Is Suboxone Bad for Your Liver?

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Healthy people taking Suboxone properly should not have increased risk of liver toxicity. But if you have an underlying disease of your liver, you may need extra monitoring.

Your liver processes toxins from your bloodstream. Medications, including Suboxone, pass through the liver before entering your body. If you've harmed your liver in the past, it may have trouble processing medications, including Suboxone.

While it is not generally necessary to check your liver function before starting Suboxone, you should let your doctor know if you have any known liver disease in the past. Even if you have liver disease, you can usually still take Suboxone safely. 

Is Suboxone Dangerous For Your Liver?

Not generally, no. Suboxone is a powerful medication, and your liver must work properly to process it, just like any other medication.

Sometimes, that work is hard on your liver cells. If you've already damaged your liver through infection or injury, you might need additional monitoring, usually in the form of blood work or imaging. [1-3]

It is possible for many different medications, in rare circumstances, to cause liver injury, including Suboxone. However, Suboxone is not generally associated with liver injury and is safe to use in most patients even with liver disease. 

Can You Take Suboxone if You Have Liver Disease? 

Yes, generally you can take Suboxone if you have underlying liver disease. However, you should always let your doctor know about all of your medications and medical conditions prior to starting Suboxone therapy.

Sources

  1. Suboxone Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/020732s022lbl.pdf October 2019. Accessed July 2022.
  2. Buprenorphine. LiverTox. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548871/. November 2020. Accessed July 2022.
  3. Acute Hepatitis Due to Buprenorphine Administration. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8342876_Acute_hepatitis_due_to_buprenorphine_administration. November 2004. Accessed July 2022.
  4. Monitoring of Liver Function Tests and Hepatitis in Patients Receiving Buprenorphine/Naloxone. Physician Clinical Support System. https://www.naabt.org/documents/pcsshepatitisbupeliver.pdf. November 2005. Accessed July 2022.
  5. Buprenorphine Misuse Decreased Among U.S. Adults with Opioid Use Disorder from 2015 to 2019. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/2021/10/buprenorphine-misuse-decreased-among-us-adults-with-opioid-use-disorder-from-2015-2019. October 2021. Accessed July 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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