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Will I be able to function on Suboxone?

Yes! The goal of starting patients with addiction to opioids on buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) IS to help them become MORE functional. If you have become addicted to opiates (like oxycodone/Percocet, hydrocodone/Vicodin, hydromorphone/Dilaudid, methadone, heroin, or fentanyl) and you do not have these substances in your body, you will feel awful (withdrawal symptoms like sweating, muscle aches, agitation, diarrhea). Your life may have crumbled from preoccupation with opioids, leading you to be unable to fulfill daily obligations (like going to work, taking on responsibilities, taking care of kids, family, and friends).

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) works by stabilizing your brain’s opioid receptors so you do not have cravings or withdrawals and you feel NORMAL. This allows you to once again engage in fulfilling and meaningful experiences.

All medications have potential side effects, and the same is true for buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). Fortunately, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)’s side effects are not common and tend to be mild. Common buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) side effects include nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, excessive sweating, and stomach cramps, among others. 

As with any new medication, when you first start Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), we recommend patients refrain from driving or engaging in other potentially hazardous activities until they know how their bodies will react to buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). After a few days, however, you should be able to engage in all activities while taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone); there are no activity limitations.

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Dr. Rollston is a Family Medicine Physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, Affiliate Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Primary Care Blog, and Founder of Doctors For A Healthy US, LLC. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University. Her professional interests focus on social influencers of health & health disparities, addiction medicine, sexual & reproductive health, homelessness & supportive housing, and rural health.

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