All Suboxone strips are orange and very thin. Dosage strengths are printed in white on each film with the letter N before a number — for example, N2, N8, and N12.
Generic versions of Suboxone are available, and they’re also orange and very thin. They are stamped with either the letter A or B, followed by a number between 2 and 12.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a lifesaving medication that has helped countless people overcome opioid use disorder (OUD). The combination of buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist, has helped people manage the detox phase of withdrawing from opioids rather than going “cold turkey,” which can lead to relapse faster.
When taken over weeks, months, or years as a maintenance medication, Suboxone prevents craving, relapse, and risk of death by overdose.
This medication is often prescribed as a film designed to dissolve under the tongue. Film strips enter the bloodstream quickly. This approach is easier to supervise and makes Suboxone less likely to be misused or tampered with.
Suboxone’s Appearance & Generic Counterparts
Here’s what you should know to identify Suboxone film strips, along with generic versions of buprenorphine/naloxone medication:
There are two basic strengths for the brand name sublingual film with about a 4:1 ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone. Each strip contains either:
- 2 mg of buprenorphine and 0.5 mg of naloxone
- 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2 mg of naloxone
- 12 mg of buprenorphine and 3 mg of naloxone
The film strips are square and orange. They come individually packaged, and doses are printed with the Suboxone logo and the dose strength.
Generic film strips containing a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone in roughly the same ratio as brand-name Suboxone are available.
- 2: With 2 mg of buprenorphine to 0.5 mg of naloxone, this film strip is orange and square, much like Suboxone.
- 4: This rectangular orange strip has 4 mg of buprenorphine and 1 mg of naloxone.
- 8: This is a square, orange strip with 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2mg of naloxone.
- 12: This rectangular orange strip has 12 mg of buprenorphine and 3 mg of naloxone.
- A2: This orange, rectangular strip has 2 mg of buprenorphine.
- A4: This orange, rectangular strip has 4 mg of buprenorphine.
- A8: With 8 mg of buprenorphine, this strip is rectangular and orange.
- A12: This rectangular, orange strip comes in 12 mg strength.
- B2 N: With 2 mg strength, this strip is orange and rectangular.
- B4 N: This rectangular, orange strip has 4 mg strength.
- B8/N: This strip is orange and rectangular like Suboxone but with B8/N imprinted. It has 8 mg of buprenorphine.
- B12/N: This strip is also orange and rectangular, with B12/N imprinted. It has 12 mg strength.
This brand-name film strip version of Subutex is placed on the cheek to dissolve rather than under the tongue. Belbuca is rectangular, white, and yellow and comes in 75 mcg, 150 mcg, 300 mcg, 450 mcg, 600 mcg, 750 mcg, and 900 mcg of buprenorphine.
There are generic versions of this medication, which have a similar appearance.
Why Take Generic Drugs?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves generic formulas of important brand-name prescriptions when the copyright approval for the original recipe runs out.
While the pharmaceutical company retains patent protection for their specific formula, other companies can use the active ingredients for generic medications, which then go through an FDA approval process.
Most generic drugs work the same way as their brand-name counterparts, but they cost less or are more likely to receive health insurance coverage. The FDA tests generic medications to ensure they are similarly bioavailable as their brand-name counterparts.
For example, if your physician prescribes a generic version of online Suboxone, you will still benefit from this buprenorphine/naloxone film strip while potentially saving money, getting better access, or getting better insurance coverage. If your doctor prescribes Suboxone specifically, ask about generic alternatives that might be more available to you if you are concerned about finances or access at a local pharmacy.
Always take your medication as directed. Do not chew, swallow, move, or tamper with film strips while they are dissolving under your tongue or against your cheek.
Factors That Impact Your Dosage
Suboxone comes in so many dosage forms because patient need is highly variable. Your doctor should work with you to find the amount that is just right for you.
Your dose can depend on the following factors:
- The drugs you took: Stronger opioids (like fentanyl) will need higher doses of Suboxone than weaker versions (like Vicodin).
- Duration of use: The longer you’ve used drugs, the more damage done to your body. You may need more Suboxone to help.
- Your health: Some medical conditions can impact how quickly you process medications.
Your doctor will likely choose the smallest dose possible and titrate if you’re struggling with withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Be as honest with your doctor as possible when asked how you’re feeling and thinking. Together, you can find a dose just right for you.
- Suboxone. European Medicines Agency. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/EPAR/suboxone. July 2020. Accessed January 2023.
- Buprenorphine with Naloxone (Suboxone Sublingual Film) for Opiate Dependence. NPS Medicine. https://www.nps.org.au/radar/articles/buprenorphine-with-naloxone-suboxone-sublingual-film-for-opiate-dependence. September 2011. Accessed January 2023.
- “Buprenorphine” Pill Images. Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/imprints.php?drugname=buprenorphine&start=30. Accessed January 2023.
- Belbuca. Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/belbuca.html. Accessed January 2023.
- Generic Drug Facts. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/generic-drugs/generic-drug-facts. November 2021. Accessed January 2023.
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