Is Suboxone Safe for Diabetic Patients?

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Yes. If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you can be treated safely with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). No significant adverse interactions have been reported when taking Suboxone concurrently with insulin or other diabetes medications. 

Can You Take Suboxone Safely with Diabetes?

Yes, Diabetic patients can be safely treated with medications for OUD, including Suboxone. Some people even see improvements in their diabetes levels after starting this medication. 

How Can Suboxone Help You Treat Diabetes? 

These are a few benefits diabetic patients have experienced when taking Suboxone:

Improved Glycemic Control 

Some people gain better control over their blood sugars while taking Suboxone, perhaps because they are not using other opioid drugs and are eating better and taking care of themselves overall.[2]In one study, people had reductions in core diabetes metrics while taking Suboxone.[1] Thus, abstaining from drugs can overall improve health and allow you to focus on nutrition, which may then lead to improvements in your Diabetic control. 

Reduction in Pain

Neuropathy is common in people with diabetes, and the discomfort can be intense. Buprenorphine is also a pain medication, and some studies suggest that buprenorphine can reduce neuropathic pain in people with diabetes.[3]

Better Cholesterol Levels 

High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, and it’s an unfortunate side effect of diabetes. Some people have better cholesterol levels while taking Suboxone.[4]

Take Care of Your Body

Using opioids makes it hard to take care of your overall health, including your diabetes. Therefore, treatment of your OUD with Suboxone may subsequently lead to overall improvements in your health, including improved glycemic control.

By working with your doctor, you can find a treatment plan that addresses both diabetes and your OUD.

Sources

  1. Taking Buprenorphine, Naloxone Produces Unintended Positive Effect in Patients with Diabetes. Healio. https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20170811/taking-buprenorphine-naloxone-produces-unintended-positive-effect-in-patients-with-diabetes. August 2017. Accessed July 2022.
  2. Opioid Use Disorder and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Canadian Family Physician. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507246/. July 2017. Accessed July 2022.
  3. The Role of Buprenorphine in Diabetic Neuropathic Pain. Diabetes in Control. https://www.diabetesincontrol.com/the-role-of-buprenorphine-in-diabetic-neuropathic-pain/. September 2016. Accessed July 2022.
  4. Metabolic and Addiction Indices in Patients on Opioid Agonist Medication-Assisted Treatment: A Comparison of Buprenorphine and Methadone. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-62556-0. March 2020. Accessed July 2022.
  5. Opioid Use and Diabetes: An Overview. Journal of Social Health and Diabetes. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/pdf/10.4103/2321-0656.176570.pdf. 2016. 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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